Girls’ water polo repeats as CIF champions

By Luke Holthouse

For the second year in a row, the members of the girls’ water polo team end their season as champions. The Wolverines defeated Los Osos 9-2 Saturday at the William Wollet Jr. Aquatic Center in Irvine to win their second straight CIF Championship in Div. IV of the Southern Section.

“It feels unbelievable,” goalie Kristen Lee ’12 said.”We worked so hard all season and I don’t think I’ve ever been more excited to have a win.” 

The Wolverines held Los Osos to only two goals after losing to the Grizzlies 14-13 earlier this season. Lee had seven saves in the cage for the Wolverines. 

“What we had been working on so much since [the first Los Osos game] was our defense,” Bella Gonzalez ’12 said. “Kristen had the game of her life and our defense did a great job putting so much pressure on them.” 

The Wolverines had a 3-0 lead at the end of the first quarter, but were outscored 2-1 in the second. The Wolverines would not surrender another goal the rest of the game and finished with a seven-goal win. Kassie Shannon ’13 lead the team in scoring with a hat trick. Morgan Hallock ’13 and Gonzalez both scored twice. Sydney Cheong ’14 and Maddie Abraham ’14 also added goals.

The win was the second straight year that the Wolverines beat Los Osos in the championship game of CIF Playoffs. The Wolverines beat Los Osos 10-7 in last year’s final. Gonzalez said that the team expected to meet Los Osos in the final again, as Los Osos graduated only one player from last year’s team. Gonzalez said that Los Osos was too focused on avenging their loss in last year’s final during the regular season, while the Wolverines were focused on beating them when it mattered most in playoffs. 

“There wasn’t any pressure on us,” Gonzalez said. “It was all on them, we had nothing to lose. It felt really good to beat them again. It just proves how much you can improve from your mistakes.” 

In his first year at the helm, Head Coach Brian Flacks ’06 was able to defend the title despite the loss of key players Camille Hooks ’11 and Ashley Grossman ’11. The team was also forced to practice at Los Angeles Valley College due to pool construction and had to adjust to Flacks’ coaching system after former Head Coach Robert Lynn left for Newport Harbor.

“It’s a testament to the girls for believing and to the administration for believing in me and believing in this program,” Flacks said. “To come out here and have that kind of a performance, it’s amazing.”