Team notches 73rd league victory

Fresh off the Irvine tournament, the girls’ water polo team is cruising to the Mission League title and one of the top seeds for CIF playoffs.

The team is 8-0 with two games left in league play. If the Wolverines win their final two league games, they will make the program’s win streak in the Mission League 75 consecutive games.

“The goal is to go into every game ready to play,” team captain Sydney Cheong ’14 said. “We’ve struggled being ready going into the first quarter and it always takes us a couple minutes to get warmed up and so the goal is to come out strong. When we’re playing really good teams, if you get behind in the first quarter, it can hurt you for the rest of the game.”

The team is wrapping up yet another flawless league season.

Despite strong showings from opponents and a smaller roster, the Wolverines continued their dominance. Games against Notre Dame, Flintridge Sacred Heart Academy, Marymount and Alemany all resulted in the Wolverines winning by 10 goals or more.

“The water polo team is great and I’m so proud of all of us winning league,” attacker Genevieve Thomas ’16 said. “It’s really cool that we’re going to playoffs.”

As the Wolverines are finishing up league play, they turn towards teams they could potentially face in playoffs. They are expected to be the top seed from the Mission League.

“We’re hopefully going to be the second seed going into playoffs and the first seed will probably be Los Osos,” Cheong said. “They’re a big team to watch.”

Cheong also said multiple teams will be competitors this season.

“Every team is going to be a big competitor this season,” she said. “Every team ranked from one to nine has been beating each other like crazy so it’s kind of an exciting year in that you’ll never know what is going to happen. In a lot of ways that makes it a lot more stressful but it will be fun.”

Current CIF polls seed the Wolverines in second place behind Los Osos. The Wolverines narrowly lost to the Grizzlies 13-11 Jan. 4 and have not played them since.

The squad has faced teams outside the Mission League in recent tournaments.

After a fourth place finish in the Bonita Tournament, the Wolverines entered their last tournament of the season, the Irvine tournament, as preparation for playoffs.

A 15-10 loss to Coronado knocked the squad out of the champions bracket but they bounced back with a 14-2 win over Fountain Valley. In the 4th round the Wolverines lost to Edison 14-6.

“Losing to Coronado first thing was tough but we did not play very consistently,” Caitlin Neapole ’16 said. “We had too many ups and downs to take the game away from them. But the loss gave us an idea of how we need to play if we want to win.”

The squad faced Louisville yesterday, but results were not available as of press time.

The final league game is tomorrow, where the Wolverines will play against Alemany for the second time. CIF brackets will be posted Feb 16. The first round of CIF is scheduled for Feb. 19.

Cheong says the game plan will not change come playoffs.

“The goal is to come out ready to play and to stick to our game plan which is to play good defense and be methodical in our front court,” Cheong said.

Last season, the Wolverines were knocked off 12-7 in the semi-finals by Palos Verdes. If they win CIF, they will give Head Coach Brian Flacks his second CIF Southern Section title this year.

He previously won CIF with the Boys’ Water Polo team in November.

“It would be really cool to win CIF,” Neapole said. “Just because this team works so hard. Even when we have double days and tournaments every weekend, these girls work harder than what is expected of them. All of that work is about to pay off.”

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