The varsity girls water polo team played an extremely tight defensive game to beat Mountain View 15-5 in a conference match today, October 15.
The Eagles went up 2-0 in a little over a minute with a skipping shot from sophomore Julia Santos and a clean top-right goal from senior captain Christina Pao. Los Altos kept the pressure going; the players kept up a solid press to steal the ball and keep Mountain View on the defensive. Los Altos outperformed Mountain View in its number of attempts as the half went on, but both teams repeatedly hit the posts. Mountain View scored a goal late in the quarter to bring her team back into the fight, scoring a backhand shot in the top corner. Sophomore Brynn Walther scored for Los Altos with a little under over a minute remaining to finish the quarter 3-1.
The second quarter saw Los Altos come in with organization and precision. Early in the period, Los Altos maintained a consistent passing game that circulated the ball around the flanks and defense while opening spaces in the center for the team to take shots. The Eagles kept wide and stretched the Spartans’ formation enough to give senior Julia Suh an open long shot that sped into the far corner. Mountain View reciprocated a minute later with a rebound; the Spartans first took a solid long shot that was only just shut out by a leaping save from sophomore goalie Trinity Suh, but a Mountain View player rushed the ball and managed to set the score to 4-2. The remaining two-and-a-half minutes moved quickly, with repeated shots hitting the bars on both sides. Julia Santos finished with a skipping shot with ten seconds left on the clock.
Los Altos opened the third quarter with a shot from the set by sophomore Annalisa Pao and a follow-up from Christina to put the match at 7-2. The quarter continued in a similar fashion to the first quarter — Mountain View’s players took weak shots that were easily blocked or picked up by Los Altos’ defense. Julia Suh scored another shot from far out. Mountain View’s offense scored a goal with a little under three minutes remaining in the half when one of their players stuttered, throwing their defender off to get space in order to lob the ball into the far corner. Brynn placed another shot in the bottom right to place the game at 9-3. The last two minutes of the half were punctuated by repeated Los Altos attempts and a desperate Mountain View shot that sailed over the crossbar seconds before the buzzer.
The game sped up dramatically in the fourth quarter. A goal from Julia Suh was followed by another goal in which Annalisa ran down the clock before putting in a quick shot. Julia Suh scored yet another shot fifteen seconds afterwards by intercepting the ball and sprinting back down the center. Mountain View responded with a long shot to the top corner, but the goal did little to raise their spirits; junior Margo Lusinchi put a goal in soon after, and junior Anne Piercy spun around her defender to score a goal that played out in the exact same manner as Mountain View’s goal in the first quarter. While Mountain View managed to score another shot, an additional goal from Margo sealed the game at 15-5.
“Coming off of our first loss in leagues… we went into this with a lot of intensity,” Christina said. “We wanted to make sure that we still held our heads high… I was really excited to see how our team was playing.”
She noted a focus on a hard defensive press throughout the game as well as the team’s effort to close down Mountain View’s Kate Atherton.
“We were really pushing it on the counter-attack, and we were doing a really hard press consistently throughout the game,” Christina said. “We were trying to eliminate giving them the drop on Kate.”
Christina also noted that the team stole a record high number of balls from the Mountain View offense, demonstrating the value of tight and aggressive defensive tactics.
The team’s next game is a non-conference match against Leland on October 17. Their next conference match is against Palo Alto on October 27.