New changes present new challenges

New changes present new challenges

Akshay Agrawal



Varsity girls water polo faces challenge of new team, new league and new varsity culture

The Varsity girls water polo team is a group of the most confident, close knit and energetic girls. Though the team has recruited many new members—most of whom had previously played on the JV team—it has become very close in a short amount of time, increasing their confidence in their ability as a team as well as in the team morale. 


After an undefeated run in last year's El Camino League, the girls have moved up to the De Anza League and are now facing the challenge of playing up to its highly competitive standards. But with the undefeated record comes a lot of energy, spirit and confidence.


After a rough few games however, with more losses than the team has been used to, the team has been expressing frustrations, according to senior player, Natalie Yates.

Varsity girls water polo players Juniors Alletta Simons, Shravya Guda, and Kelly Darmawan crowd the net during their league game against Palo Alto High School on Oct. 14 at MVHS. The matadors lost the game 15-5 bringing their record down to 2-7. Photo by Elvin Wong.

"Before, the closest games were 9-4, now it's like 15-3 in their favor," said senior varsity co-captain, Sonika Singh. 

Currently, the team is 3-6 in the league with wins against Saratoga and Homestead High Schools. 


Since last year, the team has lost many experienced players, all of whom have graduated—goal keepers, alumni Alyssa Walker and Naomi Van Nest and field player Alexis Weckel—which could account for the change in play. However, since last season, the team has grown, with 16 players compared to last year's 10. It is the first year for many of the girls on the team, but the majority have been playing water polo since their freshman year. The girls have embraced the change and have become close in a very short time, after their trip to Hawaii this summer. 


"[Water polo] is a demanding sport physically. There's no dead time in the water. It's one of the toughest sports," said new co-coach, Ben Vierra, son of JV and varsity coach Don Vierra. Although it is his first year coaching polo at MVHS, Ben has coached at Live Oak and Independence High Schools. "He is one of the best coaches in the area," Don said. With lots of experience and determination, Ben has been coaching the girls hard to prepare for the competitiveness of the league. 


On Oct. 14, the girls played their ninth game of the season against Palo Alto High School. The girls played with determination and vigor. Flat, senior Gaby Antonova, made effective passes to her teammates but the girls failed to maintain good team communication. Passing without prior confirmation called for a rough game in which the girls averaged about one point per period. Their tough opponents, on the other hand, managed to score upon almost every return play. The girls played hard and with the drive and desire to win. Even after being down by six points, senior hole Nikki Danese made two shots within the third period bringing the game to a score of 10-5. "You guys played hard," Ben said after the game. Ben later stated that the girls were at a great disadvantage partially because of the experience and speed of their opponents. 


Even though they lost 15-5, Ben still had encouraging words for the girls during the post game talk. "Whatever you do keep [playing hard], it's the sign of a champion," he said. 


Though they have been at a disadvantage as newcomers in the De Anza league, the team has the confidence that this season will prove to be a great competitive and learning experience. Despite the losses, the girls remain optimistic and hope that their closeness, positive attitudes, personalities and dedication to the sport will speak for itself and manifest in a good season. In the words of Singh, "…lets go to CCS!"