Team seeks to assert league dominance

Ellis Becker

The girls’ water polo team began its season with below average performances, entering the season with a 1-2 record in preseason games, along with an average campaign in the Arroyo Grande High School Winter Classic.

The squad won its season opener over Oaks Christian 10-8, with six goals coming from Villanova commit Camille Oswald ’17.

They dropped their next two games against Temple City and Mater Dei away before going on winter break.

“We still have a lot of work to do,” Princeton commit Paige Thompson ’17 said. “League play start[ed] this week, and we definitely need to improve our front court offense and add more movement, which we will be working hard on in practice.”

After the break, the team travelled to San Luis Obispo for the the Arroyo Grande High School Winter Classic Jan. 6-7, ending the trip with a tournament record of 3-2.

The team won its first game of the tournament, beating Paso Robles 14-6.

Despite the early victory, the girls dropped their next two games against Righetti and Rio Mesa, losing by two goals against Righetti and five goals against Rio Mesa.

The squad ended the tournament well, with a 7-6 victory over the Ventura Cougars.

“We definitely had some great highlights during the tournament, but overall we were somewhat inconsistent,” Thompson said. “Looking forward to the rest of our season, we definitely want to focus on maintaining consistency throughout our play. Our team has a lot of potential, and I think just working as hard as we can in practice will benefit the rest of our season.”

The team believes it can bounce back from its average play in the tournament to dominate the league.

The varsity team has been undefeated in league play since 2009, and they hope to continue that streak through the 2017 season.

Its efforts will be boosted by Thompson, who recently became eligible for CIF play because of her transfer, as well as veteran Oswald.

Oswald currently leads the team in scoring and has been one of the squad’s key defenders so far.

Despite the advantages, many players believe the fight for the league title will not be an easy one.

“This year our league division is definitely going to be toughest and the closest that it’s ever been, but we hope to win league and keep our streak alive,” Pria Pant ’18 said. “ [Oswald] has definitely emerged as a leader on our team, and has stepped up and filled those spots that our seniors filled last year.”