Girls Water Polo continues to strengthen team

By Cathy Wang, Staff Writer

Following a successful season, the Eagles have seen a young team come into the fray with half the team being comprised of girls coming up from JV and even some freshmen players. The team is spending this season focusing on strengthening their defense and learning to play well together.

“Moving onto this year, we have a lot of [new] girls on the team [and] we’re still trying to figure out how to mesh all together and empower one another, both [in] their strengths and weaknesses,” Coach Katie Tasman said.

Due to the wide range of skill levels that comes with a young team, the girls are working toward getting every player comfortable and ready to handle pressure from more experienced teams. For both the more experienced but especially younger players, it’s crucial to be able to make quick decisions and tough calls under the chaos and pressure of a game before even thinking of working out inconsistencies.

“When you’re in the water there’s all this chaos happening,” sophomore Alesia Piercy said, “[there’s] splashing around you, sometimes you can’t see, sometimes you’re getting kicked, you don’t really know what’s happening [overall] because you’re level with everybody else.”

The team has started to fit in more scrimmages and pressure passing drills, in which an offensive player tries to execute a successful pass when blocked by a defensive player. These practices are meant to get the new players comfortable with high pressure environments much like those prevalent during games.

“A big part of water polo is being able to pass the ball safely under pressure so we take a good amount of time to make sure we’re comfortable under pressure, especially in game situations where adrenaline’s pumping through you and you’re tired, and in those moments, you definitely need a safe pass so we try to take time out of the practice to do pressure passing,” Alesia said.

In addition, a new practice, Chalk Talk, is being introduced. After a game, the players and Tasman watch footage of their games and discuss both their successes and failures. This ability to press pause and reflect and see how each player contributes to the overall unit serves to help them see their strengths as well as what still needs to be worked on, both wholly and individually.

For the rest of the season, the team is looking forward to their continued improvement as they grow more comfortable with each other and sure of themselves. That’ll only come with hard work, and for young players like Alesia, it’s well worth it.

“Getting played more and scrimmaging against each other has just really given me more experience because before I had no idea what I was doing.” Alesia said. “Through this and the older girls helping me and asking them questions and giving me advice, it’s definitely helped me in knowing what to do in [tough] situations. Walking into games you don’t know what’s going to happen. You have to work harder, it’s higher intensity and even though it can be harder and more frustrating it’s really rewarding.”