Thunder douses the Lodi Flames 15-7

Rocklin to face No. 1 St. Mary’s
By: Cameron Salerno for The Placer Herald
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In Thursday’s second round of the CIF Sac-Joaquin Section Division I Water Polo Playoffs, Rocklin defeated No. 5 seed Lodi 15-7. Seeded No. 4, the Thunder was the home team, but had to host at Whitney High since Rocklin’s pool did not meet CIF standards.

Despite the neutral site and many clock malfunctions, Rocklin was able to coast to victory. The Thunder scored 10 goals in the first half and played defense when needed.

“I thought we took care of business tonight,” Rocklin head coach Scott Bergermann said. “The boys played well through adversity tonight and stayed focused throughout the game.”

The Thunder beat No. 13 Kennedy 19-9 in the first round. Lodi was a tougher opponent and Rocklin missed shots in the opening minute. But after a few point-blank misses, the Thunder finally found their rhythm.

“We are so used to missing shots, so when we do it doesn’t really faze us,” Bergermann confessed. “I think something my team does well is having that mental fortitude to keep shooting. I know they have the confidence that if they do keep shooting, eventually (the shots) will start going in.”

Jayden Siler opened up the scoring for Rocklin just 51 seconds into the match. Siler led the Thunder with five goals, and Flip Crnogorac and Jonathan Frink recorded three goals apiece.

Leading 4-1 in the first quarter, Rocklin opened the second period with back-to-back goals from Sierra Foothill League MVP Max Miller for a 6-1 lead. Rocklin went on to score four more goals to end the half ahead 10-4.

Behind a strong Rocklin defense and goalie Ian Matthews’ 11 saves on the night, the Thunder outscored Lodi 5-3 in the second half.

“He was huge tonight,” Bergermann said on his goalie. “I can’t overstate how big he was for us tonight. He really saved us tonight and he had a big game.”

Rocklin advances to the semifinals and will play St. Mary’s at Johansen High School in Modesto 2 p.m. Tuesday. The No. 1 seeded Rams crushed the SFL’s Oak Ridge 28-9 Thursday night.

“St. Mary’s has some really talented players on their team,” Bergermann said. “It will definitely be an interesting matchup.”