Girls’ water polo team seeks to improve after loss of key players October 7, 2022 — by Jonny Luo Photo by Stephanie SunJunior varsity member Amaris Charton prepares for a shot in a game against Santa Clara on Sept. 22. Despite early losses and low participation the team is working on improving for future games.Led by a new coach, the Falcons began the year enjoying the progress they were making but also facing challenges such as the loss of two players to graduation last year and two seniors, Fiona Feng and Hannah Baniani, who decided not to play this season. Midway through the league season, the results have been predictable for the young squad: winning a few games but mostly losing to more experienced opponents. The team lost 4-2 to Milpitas on Sept. 29 as well as 8-1 to Cupertino on Sept. 27. This followed a 4-1 victory against Santa Clara on Sept. 22 despite the absence of key players like junior hole set Ryder Gangemi, senior left wing Afsoon Modiri and senior goalie Rosie Kline. Other losses included a 10-3 defeat to Wilcox on Sept. 20, a 13-3 loss to Fremont on Sept. 15, and a 8-7 loss to Mountain View on Sept. 13. They beat Milpitas 12-3 on Sept. 8 but fell 8-7 in their first game against Monta Vista on Sept. 6. The 10-member team has been training new head coach Mike Allegretti, who also coaches the school’s swim team and played water polo during high school. “At the beginning of the season, we were unsure if we would even have a coach, so we were really happy when [Allegretti] stepped in,” Kline said. Under his guidance, the team hopes to improve their performance by covering more plays and conditioning during practices. Allegretti also sometimes goes into the water during practices to show the members how to do their plays. In the water, the Falcons have been working on basic skills like driving in, releasing for the ball and practicing 6-on-5 formations during most practices. Their practices typically start with swim sets and passing techniques. The team has also begun to use weight belts during passing exercises to build strength and stamina. Despite early losses, junior Medha Ravi, who doesn’t have a set position, said team spirit has been much better than last year when she played on JV. “I think that the new coach has definitely helped with team spirit,” Ravi said. Ravi has also been trying to prevent players from feeling left out on the team — which happened to her last year — by “bridging the gap” between the varsity and JV teams. “It’s really daunting if you’re new, especially if you don’t know how to swim,” Ravi said. “I really want to make sure that no one feels left out this year, and a big way of doing that is to show that we’re all people and can work together inside and outside of the pool.” Despite their continuous training and conditioning, Ravi said the team still has room for improvement. “I don’t feel like we have enough conditioning, and a lot of people, including me, get really tired during games,” Ravi said. “If we can improve that, we can start to see more success.” 2 views this weekAbout the contributorsJonny LuoJonny Luo, Class of '24, is an Editor-in-Chief of the 2023-24 staff. He was previously an In-Depth editor and reporter/layout artist. He has written about district and student responses to COVID-19, profiles on staff, and columns about his favorite pastimes (puzzles, boba, and the like—such as giving up on school cookies).