Co-written by Ruth Feng
Both MVHS and LHS were very evenly matched; for most of their game on Oct. 4, either team was only one point away from the other. In the very tight game, MVHS lost 7-8 at home against LHS. Both teams were tied at the end of the last period, resulting in overtime, the first of the season for MVHS.
The First Half
Though some MVHS players were unsure about what to expect from LHS, the team started out strong. Both teams entered the first half with a determined mindset. The aggressive shots and yelling so prominent in water polo started almost immediately after the game began. MVHS scored the first point and the crowd cheered.
LHS soon followed suit.
By the end of the first quarter, MVHS was a point behind LHS, and they were determined to close it up in the second.
During the second quarter, both teams scored multiple points, but MVHS maintained its position one point behind LHS. By halftime, the score was 4-5, with LHS leading.
The Second Half
As the sun set, the cheering and yelling on the pool deck only got louder. Though the game was well into the fourth quarter, no one had scored since halftime. Both team’s defense was tightening up and the goalies were blocking shots more often.
MVHS still was a point away from tying up the score and every chance they had to shoot fired up the crowd. And every missed shot did the same.
Sophomore Palak Jain felt like the team was very motivated towards the end of the fourth quarter.
“We were thinking it’s one point we gotta close that gap and win this game,” Jain said.
Finally, MVHS scored, bringing the score to 5-5 and effectively ending the fourth period.
By the end of the second half, the crowd was ecstatic and was growing increasingly impatient. After MVHS tied the score up to 5-5 before the start of overtime, players felt anticipation and curiosity as to what would happen next; some members of the team had never even played overtime before. The sound of the conch broke the reverie, and the game resumed.
Overtime in water polo consists of two three-minute periods, which determine the winner of the game. Though tension in the pool and the stands was still running high, the tied score gave MVHS a sense of confidence. Any doubts MVHS may have had were put aside when they scored the first goal of overtime.
But LHS was quick to respond, tying it up for a second time in the game.
About 40 seconds later, MVHS did the same, bringing the score up to 7-6 with them in the lead at the end of the first overtime period.
The teams took a break and both sides were breathing heavy. The crowd too was just as winded. Both teams were neck and neck, and there was bound to be disappointment whichever way the score went. When the conch blew again, both teams were ready.
30 seconds in, Lynbrook scored, and the score was tied again, 7-7.
Everyone in and around the pool was apprehensive. The winner of the game would be the team that could score a goal in the next 2 minutes. It was LHS that shot last, and after the splashes cleared, the ball was in the back of MVHS’ net.
LHS won the game with a score of 8-7 in one of the most unexpectedly close games of the season so far. After the match ended, the disheartened MVHS team climbed out of the pool, evidently shocked and disappointed. Yet, when they broke their post-game huddle, the crowd erupted into an emotional applause. MVHS had lost, but they had fought for every point until time ran out.
Junior Sara Tom believes that despite the loss, the team has improved in many ways. The number of shots the team took — around 30 — increased and the team’s communication developed.
“This was one of our best games of the season so far,” Tom said.
Still, she believes that the team has many things it has to improve on, such as passing the ball and moving down the pool more efficiently.
The game may have ended in LHS’ favor, but MVHS is anything but defeated. They look forward to their next match, and, like always, hope for the best.
The girls water polo team’s next home game is on Oct. 13 against Saratoga HS