Girls’ water polo looks to bounce back next year

October 28, 2019 — by Kavita Sundaram and Jonathan Li

As the season comes to an end, the varsity girls’ water polo team has not often won in the pool, but has gained a triumphant sense of growth and learning from the year.

The team ended the season by falling 10-4 to Palo Alto on Oct. 18, beating Homestead 13-10 on Oct. 25 and losing 14-2 to Los Altos on Oct. 26. The team’s league record was 1-10.

While the losses are certainly disappointing, and the team will not be playing at CCS, coach Melissa Hesselgrave sees this as a great learning opportunity for the girls.

“Being in an upper league for the first time this year has definitely shown the girls how much harder they have to work to compete,” Hesselgrave said. “They know how much higher their expectations for themselves and for their team needs to be in order to compete.”

So far, they have used this season to help them improve their technical skills, strength and endurance.  

“Overall this season we haven’t done so well, but I think we’re playing well for our team and our standards. I think we’ve improved a lot from the beginning of the season,” said senior set defender and point offensive Thaila Morganstern.

Aside from building fundamentals and technical skills, the team has been able to identify each player’s individual strengths and weaknesses, creating a team with more specialized players for next year’s roster. 

Moreover, the girls have learned to replace the roles graduated seniors left behind, which they struggled with early on in the season. 

“The girls are now realizing that they have to step into the roles of being performers on offense, and that’s been the case in the past couple of games,” Hesselgrave said. “We’ve had a wider spread of athletes scoring more goals.” 

Apart from performance and skill, the team’s culture has been a key contributing aspect to their success and enthusiasm for the sport.

“Playing the sport is really fun, I love water polo, but the reason I come to practice every day is because of the people I play with,” Morganstern said. “We’ve kept a really good connection throughout the season and I think that’s been our greatest strength as a team.”