Girls’ water polo hopes to repeat CCS run

September 11, 2019 — by Apurva Chakravarthy

Falcons face tougher challenges in De Anza Division.

Head coach: Melissa Hesselgrave

2018-2019 season record: 24-3

2018-2019 season recap: The team won the league and went to CCS, falling in the finals to Menlo School.

Key Additions: freshman Rosie Kline and Stephanie Sun

Key Matchups: Los Gatos, Palo Alto, Gunn
Star players: juniors Morgan Bruun-Jensen and Grace Stuart, seniors Emma Cooper and Thaila Morgenstern

Key Losses (graduated athletes): Madison Hartmann, Madeline Stuart, Emma Ford-Dauber, Phoebe Wang, Ashley Feng, Sarah Daoudi, Alyssa Whitman

League: De Anza 


After sustaining the loss of seven key players due to graduation, the girls’ water polo team largely is filled largely with underclassmen and is looking to meet and exceed the high expectations from last season’s outcome.

“It’s very difficult to adjust when you lose so many players because that’s your entire varsity team,” Stuart said. 

Because there are so many new freshmen on the team, it was difficult for the team to explain the rules and plays while also focusing on building their endurance and stamina for the season.

The freshman and sophomore additions are beginning to adjust to the longer playing periods, and many of the newer girls have had to change the way they swim and play completely. 

Another challenge the team will have to face this year is adapting to new head coach Melissa Hesselgrave’s coaching style. Hesselgrave also teaches social studies

Getting a new coach this year was a big adjustment to the team because of the difference in their coaching styles. Their previous coach worked more on plays with the team while Hesselgrave stresses fundamentals. 

Center offense player Grace Stuart said that initially, the team had a hard time adjusting to the new coaching styles, but this new style of training has allowed the team to improve tremendously on its fundamentals. Stuart predicts that the team will be able to do better in games because they will be able to keep up their stamina the entire time. 

Despite these challenges, Stuart has high hopes for the season, believing that the team will overcome these issues as the season goes on.

After placing second Division II of CCS, the furthest a Falcons girls’ water polo team has ever gone, they are looking forward to repeating their success. The team and Hesselgrave hope to continue this legacy and are working hard to accomplish that.

“I am excited for a season that will be full of growth,” Hesselgrave said.

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