water polo

Polo Falls in 1st Round

Entering California Interscholastic Federation (CIF), the girls water polo team held a 3-3 league record and 16-12 overall record.

Concluding their season, the girls had their first CIF competition on Wednesday, Feb. 12 against Sunny Hills, whose team has held an undefeated league record (6-0) this year. Though putting up a tough fight, the Dolphins fell to the Sunny Hills Lancers 3-8. The game “started off well as [their] first goal was strong,” according to sophomore Kayden George, and “despite losing, [junior captain Kat Besanceney] made a half court shot.”

Head coach Carrie Pierce commented, “We played a solid final game. The goals were scored by Besanceney, [junior] Paige Riester, and [freshman] Kate McCulloch. [sophomore] Madi McGowan, the goalkeeper, recorded a season high of fourteen blocks.”

Of the season as a whole, Pierce remarked, “Overall, a huge rebuilding season coming off of the most successful season in school history, and with all but two members of the varsity team returning next year, the future is looking very bright for this group. I am super impressed with their ability to move up a division and take on that challenge with ease. I’m looking forward to next season as our group builds off of the successes and challenges of this season! We finished the season strong and I hope to make a strong run next year.”

water polo

Prior to CIF, the girls played four games, losing three and winning one. Against El Toro, the girls lost 6-9 on Wednesday, Feb. 5. Besanceney said of the game, “The El Toro game was a huge success for us. We did not come out with a win, but we kept up with a D I/II team the whole game, so we were super pleased. We have now seen how they play and the potential we have, so next year, we will definitely be ready to blow them out of the pool. As for standout players, I’d say we all played a collectively great game. The freshmen and sophomores are stepping up to the challenge of varsity water polo beautifully, while the juniors and seniors lead the team in and out of the pool.”

The previous day on Tuesday, Feb. 4, the team competed against Tesoro in their South Coast League game, winning the game by four points for a final score of 9-5. Riester noted that “[the] team came out with a lot of intensity, which allowed [the team] to win the game.” She and the team are hoping to bring that same intensity and momentum to their first CIF game.

Losing 5-16, the team played San Clemente, their rival, on Wednesday, Jan. 29. In recent years, San Clemente has defeated Dana Hills six times. Despite the loss, the girls still fought hard, and their valiant efforts strengthened the team’s bond. McCulloch made two goals, Besanceney made one goal and Riester scored two goals.

Besanceney, Riester, and McCulloch, as well as junior Ashley Bellavia and freshman Sadie Riester, led the team with five assists total. McGowan also made a total of six saves. Sadie Riester and McGowan made two steals, while Paige Riester, Besanceney, Mason, and McColluch had one steal each.

The girls had also played El Toro a previous time, on Tuesday, Jan. 28, losing again 6-8. Besanceney and both of the Riester sisters scored two goals each for a total of six. As for assists, the Riesters, Bellavia, McCulloch, McGowan and freshman Claire Berger all contributed one. McGowan made eight saves, while McCulloch made one.

Looking forward, junior captain Emma Mason commented, “We had a good fight this season and finished third in league. We’re hoping to come back from making it so far last year so we will be training hard to do so. We’ve grown not only as a team but as individual players, so I’m excited for CIF this year and to continue onto the next.”

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