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Guyer's Katherine Cullen (4) looks to pass over Southlake Carroll's Sydney Balint (9) during the girls TISCA state championship water polo tournament in Austin, Saturday, May 5, 2018. (Stephen Spillman/Special Contributor)

After the Guyer girls water polo team won its second consecutive regional championship and the Guyer boys placed fourth at the North regional Saturday in Lewisville, both teams advanced to the state tournament at the Lee & Joe Jamail Texas Swimming Center in Austin this weekend.

The Lady Wildcats, who won their first state title last year, will begin defense of their Texas Interscholastic Swimming Coaches Association Water Polo crown at 1:30 p.m. Friday against Pearland, while the boys team is set to play Richmond Foster at 8:55 a.m. Friday.

The Guyer girls cruised through last season with a 31-0 record and graduated several key contributors, including state tournament MVP Katherine Cullen, first-team all-state selection Lexi Wong, second-team all-state selection Carley Manuel and third-team pick Presley Woods.

But a strong freshman class helped fill a handful of holes in the lineup to keep the Lady Wildcats rolling toward state with a 22-1 record. Guyer’s only loss came to Houston St. Agnes on March 2.

The Lady Wildcats are led by freshman Sadie Sallas, who had 52 goals and 20 assists entering last weekend’s regional. Cayleigh Carter ranked second on the team with 28 goals and 13 assists, while Olivia Dimka (22 goals, six assists), Alyssa Lougee (22 goals, nine assists) and Sara Gomez (17 goals, 10 assists) are key contributors.

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Guyer head coach Chris Cullen speaks to his team during the girls TISCA state championship water polo tournament in Austin, Saturday, May 5, 2018. (Stephen Spillman/Special Contributor)

“Nobody believed in them to start with after we lost that huge senior class,” Guyer coach Chris Cullen said. “I kept telling them that we could do it again. They started to believe, and now in my mind we’re definitely one of the top three contenders on the girls side alongside Foster and St. Agnes.”

On the boys side, Guyer is again led by the Cameron Cullen, who was the MVP of the state tournament last year when the Wildcats finished second. Cameron Cullen had a team-high 71 goals and 26 assists entering the regional tournament while Nathan Wong, a second-team all-state selection last year, had 47 goals and 21 assists.

“We don’t have any seniors on the boys side,” Chris Cullen said. “We were hoping to finish better at the regional tournament, but the last three years the top three teams were all from this area. Those are the best teams – even though we got fourth at regionals, I still think we have a chance to finish among the top five at state. We have a tougher road, but if you want to win you’re going to have to beat those top teams eventually.”

With a win over Pearland on Friday, the Guyer girls will advance to play either Austin Liberal Arts and Science Academy or Houston Memorial at 8:15 p.m. Friday. The Guyer boys would play either Anderson or The Woodlands at 7:20 p.m. Friday with a win in the first round.

The girls state championship game will be at 7:20 p.m. Saturday and the boys state championship game is scheduled for 8:30 p.m. Saturday.

BRADY KEANE can be reached at 940-566-6869 and via Twitter at @BradyKeane. 

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