Girls Varsity Water Polo Preview

Ziming (Sarah) Wang, Staff Writer

As the fall sports season approaches, the Arcadia High School (AHS) Girls Varsity Water Polo team is getting ready for an exciting season. With multiple returning players as well as brand new faces, the girls are working towards setting new goals, preserving team chemistry, and striving for new heights. Here’s what the Girls Varsity Water Polo team has in store for us this year.

Before their season started, the Apaches had already been practicing, starting as early as the beginning of the school year, conditioning for their maximum performance in the water. With the Boys Water Polo season coming to an end in early November, the team started practicing in the water a few weeks ago, with only 10 practices to adjust to working with each other before their first game officially starts. Although burdened by both the lack of time and the impact of COVID-19 with many team members sick, the girls refused to back down and continued to push themselves for the benefit of the team.

Coach Janice Clark, main coach of the Varsity Girls Water Polo team, values her team’s determination to push forward and encourages them to put effort into their practices. 

In coaching, I believe a team can’t be strong without having a strong grounding in the basic skills of the game,” said Coach Clark. “With a strong base established, then additional plays and strategies can be successfully added in moving to a higher level of play. In addition, all team members must support and respect each other in order to work successfully as a team.” 

Luckily, this season is packed with a roster of dedicated and experienced players, such as Team Captain senior Liv Hernandez,who has been on the Varsity Water Polo Team for four years. 

“I think our greatest strength right now is the capability to be flexible with each other, since everyone’s sick right now,” said Hernandez. “We all want the best, we all want to come in here and work hard, so I think just being able to come in with an open mind, and being ready to learn, and being ready to work together is our greatest strength.”

The Varsity Girls Water Polo team’s biggest strength this year lies in our returning varsity players. They have good chemistry and great experience which they are already sharing with the girls who are new to the varsity level this year,” said Coach Clark. “Because almost half the varsity team is new this season, our initial weakness is that those new to the level still need to make the transition to playing varsity games which are significantly faster in pace and more aggressive in physicality than JV level games.”

Last year, the team was able to get a major win streak during California Interscholastic Federation (CIF). The girls were able to make it to the first round and placed top five in their league, making the expectations this year higher than ever.

With multiple seniors in the team this season, Coach Clark stated that other than “growing in basic skills, physical conditioning and team cohesion, finishing in the top half of the Pacific league” is currently one of the major goals the girls want to achieve. 

“Our goal this year is to work together, of course, but also to come out on top as Pacific League champs,” said Hernandez. “Right now, we’re at the top of our seeding, so hopefully we can pull out a win this year.”

Senior Angela Ying also had similar ideas about this upcoming season: “This year I’m excited to bond with the new varsity teammates and make our team chemistry even stronger. I’m also looking forward to closing out my senior year by winning league.” 

Despite the intense competition, it’s also important for the girls to have fun in the water and experience the enjoyment through playing and interacting with teammates. Being a high school athlete, to acquire a balance between sports and academics is often very challenging, so it’s important for players to enjoy their time on the team.

Sophomore Viviana Geiger said she will enjoy “away games and tournaments this year because it’s always really fun to get to bond during bus rides with the team.”

Right now, the upcoming season of this team is looking bright. With their dedication and skills, the girls look forward to personal improvements, gaining a better team chemistry as well as improving their leadership skills. With their preparations in place, the Apaches Girls Water Polo team is now ready to fight for their place as champions.

Photo by Ainsley Najafzadeh