Girls’ water polo begins title-defending season

The girls’ water polo team had mixed results from its first  action of the year in the Mistletoe Tournament, finishing second to Crescenta Valley.

The Wolverines moved up to Division III this year following back-to-back Division IV CIF championships. The team’s record stands 4-1 on the season.

“It’s early in the season, so it was a good opportunity to see where we stand at this point,” Head Coach Brian Flacks ’06 said.  “It shows we have a lot to work on. I’m excited for the opportunity to really get to work in December.”

Freshman Hannah Eliot ’16 performed well in the tournament, scoring a goal in sudden death overtime to outlast Newbury Park 7-6 and advance to the final against Crescenta Valley, where they lost 7-3.

“We need some of the younger players to step in and fill big roles,” Flacks said.  “Hopefully they can do that.”

Center Morgan Hallock ’13, the reigning CIF Player of the Year, has often been the focal point of the opponent’s defense, creating opportunities for her teammates to score goals.

“It’s a little frustrating sometimes, but I think the biggest part of that is that teams do drop back in zones more or double team me,” Hallock said.

“It is just encouraging my teammates to really step up for it. Water polo is not a sport where you can have one great player making all the plays,” she said.

“I think everyone’s going to have Morgan’s number, but it’s our job to find ways to still get her the ball, and for her teammates to make plays and for other players to step up,” Flacks said.

Hallock, a Princeton commit, said the team showed spurts of strong play on both offense and defense, but also stressed that the team is still adjusting to playing together.

“There is a lot of athleticism, a lot of potential water polo talent for the underclassmen,” Hallock said. “I see them improving every day.”

Set guard Sydney Cheong ’14 believes the team can improve on defense, which is usually a strength of the team.

“We pride ourselves on playing good defense, and that’s why we were able to go so far in the playoffs last year because we had great team defense and really good team communication,” Cheong said.

“That’s obviously something we can improve upon this year to get back to that point,” she said.

Other veterans on the team include Kassie Shannon ’13 and Rebecca Armstrong ’14 who bring experience to the new team.

The Wolverines played their first home game at the Copses Family Pool yesterday against Mater Dei in a Mission League matchup.

Results were not available as of press time, but will be provided on the Chronicle’s website.

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