Water polo: Girls working hard to win in highest league

September 22, 2010 — by Kim Tsai

After a long season last year full of struggles and tough losses, the girls’ water polo team has a chance to start over fresh. But with the graduation of several veteran players from last year, the team is struggling to overcome its lack of experienced players and must focus on training new players who have never played before.

“The team has five new people who have never played before,” said varsity goalie Allison Knysh. “A lot of the work is just teaching them how to play, and getting them caught up.”

However, the team has a strong set a veteran players who can offer guidance to some of the newer players. One key returning player is senior Joyee Woodrow, who, as hole set on the team, is responsible for creating offensive opportunities as an integral part of the teams offensive attack.

“[Woodrow] makes really good shots in the pool,” said junior forward Kendall Milton. “[As hole set] she does a really good job at keeping her defenders off her and making tough shots, and is a big part of this team.”

In addition to Woodrow, several other veteran players will be returning to the team to this year to lead the team, including juniors Sneha Belkhale, Sanjana Chetia, Kynsh, Milton and Nicole Shadman and senior Allison Buchanan.

However, the team may be losing its most valuable player, senior McKenzi Crase, a four-year varsity veteran, who will have to sit out for a few of the games this season as a result of a back injury.

“[Crase] is going through physical therapy right now,” said Kynsh. “She wants to. I mean, she’s really dedicated to water polo, but when her body says no, she has to say no.”

This year, the girls play in the highest league, the De Anza Division in the Santa Clara Valley Athletic League, and are coached by special education teacher Courtney Crase.

On Sept. 14, the Falcons were pitted against league rivals Monta Vista but lost 13-5.

The team started out with an 8-0 deficit, but finally managed to rack up some points after halftime. The team pitched forward to make up some lost points from the beginning of the game. Players learned some lessons from this first game, said Chetia.

“I think that our game against Monta Vista reminded us that we need to play our best through all four quarters of the game, not just the second half,” said Chetia. “It was only in the second half of the game, when we pulled together as a team, that we started playing well.”

Despite a lopsided loss to start out the season, the players still believe that with practice, they can steadily improve and potentially beat rivals including Los Gatos.

“I’m pretty excited for water polo this year,” said Chetia. “I think we can improve and do a lot this year.”

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