Reaching finals, girls’ water polo advances further in CCS than ever before

November 26, 2018 — by Andrew Li and Alan Zu

Senior Maddie Stuart lobbed a shot from halfway across the pool and into the goal during the last two minutes in the team’s second CCS game against Aragon on Nov. 6. The two teams were tied up to the last two minutes; the lob broke the tie, leading the Falcons to a 5-4 victory.

“It was a super uncommon goal and I don’t think anyone expected it to go in,” senior defender and driver Sarah Daoudi said. “It felt super nice because we could all breathe again, at least have the lead and try and finish off the game as winners.”

The Falcons went as far as they could in Division II CCS but lost 20-10 in the finals vs. Menlo on Nov. 12.

The girls won their first game 6-4 against Santa Cruz on Nov. 3. In the match, Saratoga did not score any points in the first half, but they rebounded and scored five goals in the third quarter and one in the last quarter.

After the first game, sophomore Morgan Bruun-Jensen said that the team had achieved a great start in CCS.

“We were undefeated in our league, so it’s been really good compared to other years,” Bruun-Jensen said. “During our league game, we won by more than 10 points every time.”

When the girls entered CCS, they were most worried about facing Harker, because Harker always put up good fights in previous matches. However, Harker dropped out of CCS after losing its first match, so the Falcons did not have to play them.

After the semifinal win against Aragon, senior goalie Sammy Mokhberi recounted an interesting event.

Halfway during the CCS semifinals match, a player from Aragon High screamed in frustration during the second quarter.

“We all started laughing,” junior goalkeeper Sammy Mokhberi said. “The game was overall dramatic.”

The game against Aragon was “extremely close,” Mokhberi said.

“Aragon was good, but we were better, so we won,” said Mokhberi. “It showed that we conditioned more than them, and we worked harder.”

In the CCS championship game, they were down 5-0 after the first quarter, but followed up with four goals in the second quarter. They ended up scoring the other six more goals in the second half, but fell short.

The girls finished having advanced further into CCS than any previous SHS girls’ water polo team.

Mokhberi said the game against Menlo was challenging because Menlo’s team had many skilled players. The match was the first game the Falcons lost by such a huge margin this year.

“It sucked that we lost, because we had an undefeated (regular) season,” Mokhberi said. “We were still happy, because it was the first time we ever made it that far, placing second in CCS.”

Next year, the team will be “much weaker” because seven seniors will be graduating, Mokhberi said.

She added that most of the players graduating are starters, and after the year ends, there will be only five players on varsity. The team will have to build up their numbers and pull up JV players.

Mokhberi is looking forward to next year’s season.

“Next year, we will be in the upper league, so we need to work twice as hard in conditioning and focusing more,” Mokhberi said. “We really need to work together and harder next year.”