Making Waves

Girls Water Polo Starts Season With ‘Surprising’ Success

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After getting third place in CCS last year, the girls water polo team feared that it would not be able to repeat its success due to key losses from last year’s team. But so far this season, the team has been doing better than they expected.

“I’m surprised that we’re doing so well,” junior Courtney Sandlin said.

Having lost the team’s top two scorers to Division I programs and an All-American goalie to school transfer, the tam is off to an 11-3 start, 4-0 in league. The team had an impressive overtime victory over Palo Alto, making it the favorite for the league title.

“A lot of people did not think we were going to be good,” junior Allegra Tringali said.

The team has silenced critics so far with a fourth place finish in the Rocklin Tournament, in which many of the top teams in Northern California competed.

Varsity coach Andy Maisel came into the season expecting a rebuilding year and has been glad to see his team come together. This is Maisel’s first year as the varsity coach after a year as the JV coach, two years as the varsity assistant coach and one year as the girls swimming coach.

A major setback for the team was the transfer of starting goalie senior Cassie Wyckoff to Alta Vista at the beginning of this year. New faces have had to step up to ease the pain caused by the loss of one of the nation’s best goalkeepers.

“The team’s working on defense, field blocks and steals,” Maisel said. “We’re trying to rebuild our goalies.”

Filling the large shoes left by Cassie are juniors Anna Dilley and Sabrina Maisel, who used to be a field player. The team tries not to focus on the loss but instead looks toward the future.

“We did not have to deal with it,” Allegra said. “We just had to adjust.”

Maisel said that he had to get “[his daughter] Sabrina’s permission before taking the job” and that he “wouldn’t have done if she didn’t say OK.” Maisel has known many of the girls on the team for almost a decade through different aquatic activities.

“It’s been fun coaching her,” Maisel said. “It’s been fun coaching all of them.”

Sabrina and Andy Maisel are not the only two related on the team. Courtney and her sister Caitlyn are both new to the team this year. Courtney transferred last winter from Saint Francis and Caitlyn is the only freshman on varsity. They are the third and fourth Sandlin sisters to come through the girls water polo program, and they have been playing the sport since elementary school.

Although it is not the first time the sisters have been on the same team, there is a little bit of a sibling rivalry between the two, as there can be with any siblings on the same team.

But when it comes down to it, it’s definitely a rebuilding year as far as Maisel is concerned. There is a lot of young talent that is going to be honed for next season.