By Luke Holthouse
A little bit of gamesmanship from Crescenta Valley might have cost the girls’ water polo team a chance to win the Mistletoe Tournament.
Heading into their matchup against the Falcons, the Wolverines had defeated their first three opponents at the tournament by a combined 34 goals, but found themselves tied at five at the end of regulation against Crescenta Valley. In sudden-death overtime, Falcons’ utility player Kayla Durante was left unmarked by the side of the goal and scored easily to steal a 6-5 victory.
Durante became open because she swam underneath the surface of the water to move from one side of the net to the other. While rules do not require players to swim at the surface of the water and to be visible at all times, multiple players said it is considered dirty play to swim underneath the surface during a game.
“I didn’t even see what happened in the play because I was focused on the ball,” goalie Kristen Lee ’12 said. “You’re allowed [to go under the water], but it’s a cheap play in water polo.”
The loss was only the third time the girls’ water polo team has lost in the last two seasons. While last year’s team didn’t suffer its first loss until February, this loss came in the first weekend of competitive play.
“It was kind of a wake-up call that we need to work on a lot of stuff,” Lee said.
While players admitted that they were discouraged immediately following the loss, the team was able to rebound later that day in the tournament with a 13-9 victory over Rio Mesa. With a 4-1 record, the team finished third out of the 28 teams at the tournament.