Girls’ water polo aims to avenge CIF final loss

By Cary Volpert

The girls’ water polo squad finds itself sitting atop the Mission League standings as it contends for a league title. 

The team is 15-5 in overall, but is undefeated in Mission League play this year with an 8-0 record. 

The group will have to win only one of the two remaining games this week to officially win the Mission League title, standout player Ashley Grossman ’11 said.

Newcomer Caroline Cuse’09 said that “wins against both of teams we play [Alemany and Flintridge Sacred Heart] this week should not be too challenging since we beat them pretty convincingly the last time we played them.”

They beat Alemany 14-7 and beat Flintridge Sacred Heart 23-4 in January.

The team came out of the Irvine Tournament in Irvine, Calif. with a 3-2 record.  The team lost to Foothill High School 14-3 and to Arlington High School 19-13. 

However, they were victorious against Miliken High School winning 7-6, Laguna Hills High School 9-8, and Santa Margarita High School 13-8. 

After entering the tournament as the 27th seed out of the 32 competing teams, the crew emerged as the 21st best team in the tournament by the competition’s end. 

Grossman was pleased with her team’s play.

“In the beginning of the tournament we played Foothill who was a Division 1 team. We played tentatively against them and did not play our best.  Eventually we began to cooperate as a team and ended up beating three teams and playing well [last] Saturday,” she said.

Grossman also mentioned the importance of Coach Larry Felix. “He is a really good coach. He was on the men’s national team so that gives him the perspective as both a player and a coach, which I really like about him,” she said,

“He does a great job catering to players’ needs and conducts specific drills to improve players’ skills.” 

The team is young with only three seniors on the team. Many girls have just joined including Cuse and Bridget Golob ’10, who plays goalie. Grossman spoke of how well Felix has helped these girls adjust.

“We also have a lot of new girls on the team this year, so he has done a great job training them and getting them acclimated.”

Both Grossman and her teammate Camille Hooks ’11, a 2 meter defender and a ball handler on offense, share the same goal for their team as the water polo squadron approaches the end of the regular season.

“I am looking forward to playoffs and playing different teams in our division we haven’t already faced and going as far into CIF as possible,” Hooks said. “We want to win Mission League and then try and win CIF.”

The team lost by one point in the final minute in the finals of CIF to Arroyo Grande and lost most of their starters to graduation last year. This year Grossman’s is to “get high into playoffs and CIF and to avenge that loss.”