Girls water polo: Team victorious in must-win game against Harker HS

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After nearly a week off from practice due to below acceptable air qualty, the MVHS girls water polo team returned to the pool on Monday, October 6. Although it took a little while to refocus, the girls came back strong, holding Harker HS scoreless through all four periods with a final score of 2-0.

“It was difficult at first [after taking a break from water polo], but we came in early and did warmups and stuff,” junior Anika Cheerla said. “We weren’t as fast as we could’ve been, but we still played well.”

The team was eager to compete and showed up to the pool two hours ahead of time in order to get back into game form. Coming into the game, senior Lauren Tang explains how the team did not have any expectations because of how competitive and close their league is. Although the team is currently at the top of the league, they expected to have to fight for every win.

“Playing games, especially in our league we are not really expecting to win or lose, as our league is wide open,” said Tang “we knew it would be a hard fought win or loss.”

The team hopes to fulfill their goal of finishing first in their league and extending their season into CCS. In order to do this, the team has to win the rest of the games they play in the season.

“Since beginning of the season the goal was to get first in the league and we are currently placed first,” Tang said. Head coach love added that this would be the first time for this group of girls to reach this accomplishment.

As the game began, both teams sprinted out for the first possession. The eagerness of the MVHS team to compete showed as they stepped ahead of Harker HS in the first quarter. The first goal was scored by senior Sarah Tom and was the only point scored during the first half of the game. For the rest of the first half, it became obvious that the winner of the game would have to have a flawless defensive showing.

“We fought really hard to protect the ball and to protect our goalie,” Tang said.

In the second half, HHS stepped up their game on defense, allowing far fewer shots. Still, junior Anika Cheerla was able to sneak one past the goalie in their first full possession of the third period.

For the remainder of the third, both teams switched back and forth on offense after both defenses held, stealing the ball and running down the shot clock. HHS’ goalie formerly played for the MVHS varsity team, and because of that, the team was familiar with her strengths as a defensive player.

The fourth period included several shots from both sides, but both goalies blocked every shot that came their way. Although HHS had one final push towards the end of the fourth period, stealing the ball with 50 seconds left in the game, they were unable to get off a proper shot in two tries, as the MVHS defense sealed the win.

“I thought our communication was really good and our defense was really good because when someone was driving in, we yelled, ‘Clear out! Clear out!’ so we didn’t have too many people in the middle,” senior Neha Mylvaganan said.

She also noted that holding the other team scoreless was an unusual accomplishment for their team.

The coaches and players were both satisfied with their performance throughout the game, specifically on defense and communication. This has been a focus during practice, and they hope to continue this through their next game, a must win and the team’s senior night.

“We’ve been preaching defense all year so it was nice to see that come into play this game,” Love said.

The team hopes to continue their win streak and win their league at 3:30 p.m. Thursday, October 9 for their senior game.

Girls Water Polo Against Harker HS
Photos by Akshara Majjiga and Anthony Moll.

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Akshara Majjiga is a senior and managing editor for El Estoque. This is her third year on staff, and she has formerly served as a sports editor.