The Edison High girls’ water polo team made the postseason this season for the first time in coach Nick Graffis’ three seasons in charge.
Based on the Chargers’ youth, it probably won’t be the last time.
Edison started five sophomores and a freshman for Tuesday’s CIF Southern Section Division 4 first-round playoff match at Troy. But it was a junior who had the biggest performance.
Junior center Delaney Lewellyn had a match-high four goals and four steals as the Chargers earned a 9-5 victory.
Edison (12-16), the second-place team from the Wave League, will host Temecula Great Oak in the second round Thursday. Great Oak beat Palm Desert Xavier Prep 6-5 in another first-round match Tuesday. Graffis said Thursday’s match will be played at Westminster High, likely at 5 p.m.
Lewellyn, who has been the Chargers’ center since her freshman year, said Tuesday’s win was meaningful.
“Personally, I haven’t been to CIF for high school yet,” Lewellyn said. “For me, this is the first time. I feel privileged to do it. It was a great opportunity, and I’m really proud of our team that we were able to win this game.”
Edison had to battle from behind as Troy (18-10), the second-place team from the Freeway League, scored the first two goals of the match in the first quarter. First Sara McPhillips scored, then Katharine Knowles scored a six-on-five goal.
But Edison scored four straight goals to take a 4-2 lead with 4:53 remaining in the first half. It started on an outside strike from freshman Lily Worley, then sophomore Ella Jensen fed Lewellyn for a goal from center. Jensen then scored successive goals, one assisted by senior Isabella Sorensen and the other after Jensen got a steal at mid-tank.
“In the beginning, I could tell we were a little nervous, but we’ve grown a lot as a team this year,” Jensen said. “Our team chemistry helped us get through it, I guess … All of the freshmen have definitely helped the team this year.”
Sophomore goalkeeper Coryn Cavecche, who celebrated her 16th birthday Tuesday, made two saves in the first half for Edison. Freshman goalkeeper Madie Ambrose made six saves in the second half, including a key one early in the third quarter with Edison leading 6-4.
Ambrose was called for a penalty shot after she fouled a Troy player while going to the ball. But she came up big, blocking the penalty attempt of Lauren Dickinson, who led the Warriors with three goals.
“That was a huge turnaround,” Graffis said. “That was definitely garbage to gold for us.”
Edison ended up scoring the next three goals of the match. Freshman Lilyanna Larson scored her second counterattack goal, before Lewellyn scored twice more from center for a 9-4 advantage.
Graffis said having two young goalkeepers has been a key for the Chargers.