Girls water polo senior night ends successfully

Girls water polo senior night ends successfully

Emily Vu

Girls water polo seniors dominated in their game against Homestead High School, winning 9-5 

The girls waterpolo game on Oct. 28 was more than just a game. It was a culmination of secret sister gifts, the Hawaii trip and team lunches. It was the seniors’ last game  with their team, as Matadors in the MVHS pool. With key plays from all the seniors, MVHS was able to pull off a 9-5 win over Homestead High School.

2009 League MVP, senior Nicolet Danese, scored the first goal in the first nine seconds to put the Lady Matadors in an early lead 1-0. MVHS held the lead from the beginning and didn’t surrender it for the remainder of the game. Senior Gabriela Antonova extended the lead by lobbing the ball right past the goalie from halfway across the pool. Also adding to the quick pace of the game were neat shot goals by senior Sonika Singh and Danese.The first quarter was dominated by these three senior captains and ended with a 4-0 lead over the Mustangs.

“I think as a team we played like tigers. We had out eye on the prey and went after it,” junior Niloo Kamkar said. “We played like that because of the seniors. They taught us how to want to win.”

A slip early in the second quarter by Matador defense allowed a Mustang offender to advance to the cage. Goalie junior Himani Kukreja swam out to meet the ball but was unable to take it away from the Mustang player. In a last minute attempt, she pushed the ball away and swam back to the cage just in time to see the ball hit the top rim and bounce out—a fortunate play for MVHS.

Senior Gaby Antonova fights with Mustang offender for possession of the ball. Photo by Edward Wang.The Mustang offense continued to struggle to place the ball inside the cage, because the ball always missed the cage or bounced off of the rim. The Matadors took advantage of this fact and took control of the game. A spectacular play by Danese, who caught all by surprise with a backhand shot placed neatly in the cage, allowed the Matadors to extend the lead even further 5-0.

“We had a strong start to one of our best games. Last year, we were a third and fourth quarter team, and for some reason, this year we’ve started well but either gotten overconfident or overwhelmed in the third and fourth quarter,” Singh said.

The third quarter began with Singh swimming past two Mustang defenders to find a free route to the goal. Just as she was about to take a shot, the defenders caught up and pressured her, stripping away her chances at another goal. However, senior Anne Faraday made up for that loss by scoring her first goal of the game.

A major defensive slip by the Matadors allowed the entire Mustang team to approach the cage and score to put them on the scoreboard 6-1. The third quarter ended 7-3 with another goal by Danese.

Early in the fourth quarter, Antonova capitalized after junior Stacey Urauchi missed her shot by sending a powerful shot to the far left corner, adding yet another point for the Lady Matadors.

Another battle occurred at the cage soon after—this time, not in MVHS’ favor. Kukreja again left the cage attempting to take the ball from the Mustangs, but the Mustangs had a better hand on the ball and was able to drive it right into the goal.

The senior night game ended 9-5 with a five meter shot by Danese which landed neatly in the upper left corner of the cage. After a rough season, this victory over the Mustangs was a great end for the seniors.

“We have so many players on the team this year, and since our coach made sure every player got enough playing time and had a piece of the game, without us, they will know what to do,” Singh said. “It’s just their time to step up to the plate.”

With their win over HHS, the Lady Matadors will proceed to play Los Gatos High School on Nov. 4. If they manage to bring their momentum and fire from their senior game and beat LGHS, they will move on to play in CCS.