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Team Ray takes ninth
"The Bainbridge High School boys' water polo club had all the momentum they thought they needed heading into last weekend's state tournament.Unfortunely, the first two teams they played had even more.Team Ray dropped its first two games, to defending state champion Sammamish Friday and league foe Wilson Saturday, before rebounding to top Roosevelt and Rogers for a ninth-place finish at the King County Aquatic Center in Federal Way.I think those other teams came into state peaking at the right time, playing their best water polo of the season, and caught us off guard, Bainbridge coach Jeff Clark said. I liked the way we bounced back, though. We weren't down, but we thought we could do better - and we did.Bainbridge gave Sammamish - headed by the state's top player, Paul Fahey - all it could handle, however.Fahey scored eight goals, but his team, after taking a comfortable 8-3 lead into the fourth period off a halftime shutout, watched Bainbridge furiously scramble back. The rally - keyed by two goals apiece from seniors Erik Steinecker and Andrew Sperling - brought Bainbridge to a respectable final score of 12-9.Keeper Adam Gunn recorded 12 saves, behind eight steals from Jeff Christensen.Bainbridge may not have expected to knock off Sammamish, but not knocking off Wilson - a team Team Ray had beaten twice during the season - was a disappointment.Team Ray was unable to offset four-goal first- and third quarters by Wilson, and wound up with an 8-4 loss in the Saturday morning contest to take the squad out of contention for a shot at the state title.Nate Rooks scored two goals, and Blaine Ness and Christensen recorded two steals apiece. Gunn registered eight saves.Team Ray took out its ample frustrations on Roosevelt the next day, however, thrashing the hapless opponent 17-6.Rooks, Steinecker and Christensen tallied four scores apiece, and Christensen added four assists in a game that featured zero Team Ray turnovers.Bainbridge concluded its weekend, and season, with its most thrilling game of the tournament, a 9-8 triumph over Rogers.It was tight all the way down to the wire, Clark said. They (Rogers) could have scored at any time in the last 20 seconds, but our defense held tough.Sperling scored three goals, while Steinecker and Rooks added two apiece. Christensen registered four steals, and Sperling and Matt Upton contributed three aside. Gunn came up with six saves.While the team loses several seniors, Clark is optmistic about Team Ray's chances next season.I think we'll be rebuilding, but I think a lot of teams are going to be rebuilding next year, he said. "