On Tuesday Sept. 19, the MVHS girls water polo team shouted their customary ‘1-2-3 Lady Mats!’ cheer, creating an echo that rang around the pool. MVHS played against Milpitas HS in the team’s second home game of the season. Senior Neha Mylvaganan has been playing against MHS for the last four years, and has gotten to know their team dynamics and their seniors.
“When going into the game, we came in with the mindset that we were probably going to beat them,” Mylvaganan said, “but we still wanted to try our best and to treat this as practice and really get everyone in the pool including our bench.”
The first period started off with MHS’ possession, however, MVHS quickly stole the ball and made the first goal. MHS continued to struggle for the ball but MVHS’ defense kept track of it and eventually scoring successive goals. By the end of the first period, MVHS led 3-0 leaving no room for MHS’ offense to breathe.
During the second period, MVHS held tight control over the ball until MHS managed to steal it and score their first goal halfway into the period, with MVHS leading 5-1. The game picked up in momentum as the MVHS players looked to score. The game intensified with the shouts of the coach Chris Love, yelling at his players from the sidelines to shoot or pass the ball. For the team, they relied on these shouts to gain feedback, seeing them as helpful rather than distracting.
“[Love] yells during games but it always helps us out and his voice always rings above everyone else’s,” Mylvaganan said. “Especially for me, I’m always listening to what he’s saying, [so]even if I don’t see him, I can hear him.”
By halftime the score was 6-1. MVHS continued the streak by playing methodically on offense in the third period, scoring a total of four goals before MHS had a chance to score. Junior Jacquelyn Loretto, a consistent MVHS scorer during the game, commented that even though MVHS scored many times, they were also given many fouls.
“You find that in water polo, you grab suits so sometimes your hands are up but they still call you as a foul. I got ejected twice in the game because they were grabbing me when I was trying to get my hands up and show that I wasn’t pushing her down,” Loretto said. “It’s just a part of water polo.”
As a game came to an end, MVHS lost a bit of momentum, but still didn’t allow MHS to score more goals. They scored two more before the timer ran out, ending the game at 13-2. Not only was the game a solid win for MVHS, it also gave them the opportunity to work on different strategies and defense plans, including letting newcomers, such as senior Sian Yongyuth, take shots.
“I’m still learning but they wanted to get me in and get like actual experience, so that was kinda the idea they wanted everyone to learn something from the game,” Yongyuth said.
MVHS played Harker on Tuesday Sept 26.
Photos by Aanchal Garg