Girls water polo hopes to place at CCS this year

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Catherine

Nine girls at Monta Vista push themselves everyday. They tread water for two hours after school and throw around a one-pound ball with accuracy. They face aggressive opponents, who scratch, push, and claw them under water.

After failing to qualify for CCS last year, the girl’s water polo team hopes to at least qualify for — if not win — CCS this year. Although the girls face many disadvantages, including the loss of their old starters like Class of 2013 alumni Cassidy Carlson and Elsa Maggiolino, they face this season with an optimistic outlook.

“[For many of us,] this will be our third year playing together, and it hopefully will be one of our strongest seasons,” said junior Scarlett Perry.

This year, the girls’ main goal is to strengthen the team dynamic — which, according to captain senior Kristen Vrionis and coach Don Vierra, was one of the team’s major shortcomings last year.

“There was a lack of team chemistry last year,” Vierra said. “There was just a lot of fighting within the team. We didn’t have last year what we have this year as far as chemistry.”

To solve this, Vrionis plans to help her teammates develop positive mindsets by encouraging the girls always to try their best and to support each other during the games. She believes that this will create better communication within the team and prevent the fighting that happened last year on the team.

Veteran player, sophomore Monica Ravichandran, practices with her new teammates to prepare for the upcoming year. Tryouts were held during the week of August 12th. Photo by Catherine Lockwood.
Veteran player, sophomore Monica Ravichandran, practices with her new teammates to prepare for the upcoming year. Tryouts were held during the week of August 12th. Photo by Catherine Lockwood.

Although the girls’ better team dynamics may improve their performance, the girls are still at a numbers-wise and procedural disadvantage. They not only lost most of their starters, but they also lost the luxury of summer practice due to new CCS regulations. Instead of the normal “Hell Week,” a one- or two-week training camp before school, the team started training during the second week of school. However, Vierra estimates that this will not be too big of a problem although the girls will have to work harder than usual.

“After about two days, we should have a good conditioning underneath us [after the second week of school],” Vierra said. “It is going to be a little hard to catch up. [But] it applies to all of the schools, so it shouldn’t be that bad.”

Moreover, the team has lost six seniors from last year, which required Vierra to move several junior varsity players to join the varsity team and recruit new players as they approach the season’s start. According to Perry, the new players will be difficult to train in the short amount of time they have, but she remains optimistic for their performance. Perry is preparing for her position on the team.

“I’ve been gaining experience, training two years year-round because my coach recognized my dedication and how I improved from freshman year,” Perry said. “So I felt really rewarded.”

Although the team will consist of many new Varsity members, the team also has some key, returning players. Vrionis is one of them. She spent the summer playing at Stanford water polo and training with the MVHS boys water polo coach, Ben Vierra Junior Kylie Constant is also a key player for her shooting ability, and Vierra hopes she gains confidence in her ability to perform well this year.

“I think our team chemistry is a strength,” Vierra said. “The kids that we have on varsity have excellent work ethic and want to play winning water polo.”