Islander Girls Water Polo Head Coach Dave Throop provides the details behind his team’s busy competition week. “Tuesday, Jan. 28, we traveled to Cathedral for our second round league game. We had some very good moments, especially when compared to the previous game against Cathedral. While the final score didn’t reflect the improved play, I was happy with the team’s contributions. The score was 8-2 in favor of Cathedral. Paula Martinez and Lauren Gauvin each scored a goal while Michelle Croteau had six saves.
Thursday through Saturday, Jan. 30 to Feb. 1, the team traveled to Orange County and played in the Irvine SoCal Championship Tournament. Considered one of the major events of the season, the 32-team field was atypically short two teams, making later cross-over games difficult to predict with only 30 total teams. Our first game was a rematch with Foothill High School and as they are one of the top programs in the country, the score was lopsided. We lost 18-0, the scoreless game made a first for the season and a first for us in the tournament, but we had some good play at times. Gauvin had two steals, while Ella Farley had six saves and two steals in the goal.
The second game of the tournament was against Santa Barbara who, like us, has had some up and down moments this season. They attribute their roller coaster to team health, while ours is directly related to our lack of returning overall Varsity experience. We lost that game 9-4 and seemed flat throughout the game. Brooke Lee had two goals, while Emmie Muschek and freshman Sofia Goicoechea each scored a goal. Croteau played an awesome game with 13 saves, one steal and one assist.
Friday the ladies played Canyon High and lost in dramatic fashion. After spotting the team a 5-0 lead in the first half, we were able to chip away and get the game to 5-5, 6-6 in the final frames. It took four overtimes for Canyon to beat us with a good looking-shot as we were a little confused on our defensive help rotations.
Heading into Saturday’s game we discussed how our entire focus of the season and the tournament was to become the best team we could be objectively, as well as subjectively. The objective side is simple, did we play well and win a game? The subjective is all about handling adversity, incremental improvement, and overall cohesion. On the objective side, we’re getting better. On the subjective front, it’s been a great thrill to work with a young, eager, and resilient group.
We played Long Beach Poly and beat them 10-2 with Katherine Wastila leading the team with three goals; Muschek and Goicoechea had two goals apiece; while Lee, Mary Penny, and Martinez each scored. Croteau started in goal and had nine saves in three and one-half quarters. Grace Morgan came in relief duty and was credited with a save as well.
The final game of the tournament was against Woodbridge. Lee, Sarah Olson, and Laurel White each scored two goals, with Penny and Martinez contributing a goal apiece. Farley started and had 13 saves and two steals in three and one-half quarters, while Morgan had a save in three minutes of play.
We continue to put in the work and show signs of finally understanding what it will take to be competitive. Commitment to improving in all phases, including conditioning, experience, technique, and tactics will be major determining factors between the end of this season and how we are as a group objectively next season. Our final game is Tuesday at 5 p.m. at BBMAC against Bishop’s. At this point, all that’s undetermined is whether we are in Open or Division I for the CIF Playoffs. We’re looking forward to competing in the championship part of the season.”