Girls water polo trains for state comeback run

Small team builds on success of past performances


Team strategizes together before home game against York on April 7 (Lestina/LION).

Scarlett Lestina, Copy Editor

Coming back from their first state appearance in 2021 after 13 years, the girls water polo team has an impressive record of 24-2-1 as of April 29. 

“Last year was just about establishing we have a team that can do a lot more than we thought,” field player Ella Ruppert ‘22 said. “We weren’t expecting to go to state, but then in the first game, we played against the top-ranked team, so we lost. It was just a great experience that gave us more confidence to show us that we could do better than we thought.”

Water polo is best described as a cross between basketball and swimming, with six field players and one goalie. There are four seven-minute quarters; whoever scores the most goals at the end of the game wins. This year’s team consists of 11 girls.

“A big thing in water polo is communication, so we want to get better at talking in the water and getting closer as a team,” Ruppert said. “The closer you are, the more chemistry you have in the water and as a team.”

With a majority of last year’s starters returning, the girls water polo team has continued to work towards being as tightly knit as possible, field player Ava Wright ‘23 said. This has been shown through the tough competition that the team has beaten in their regular-season games.

“Sportsmanship is so important because we are such a better team than we were in previous years, [so] we are beating some of the lower-ranked teams by a lot of points,” Ruppert said. “That’s when sportsmanship becomes a big thing, because you still want to be respectful while you are winning by a lot more than them.”

To maintain their ranked status, the girls mainly practice ball-handling skills and different runs on offense and defense according to their skill levels, captain Sofia Hannon ‘22 said. This is in addition to their swimming practice to keep up their fitness level. 

“We’re all friends,” Hannon said. “We work really well together and we can anticipate what happens naturally when running plays. It’s been really easy this year learning a lot of new plays.”

Since a majority of the girls swim together during the fall swim season, they are continually working towards being as close as possible, Wright said. They stay in shape over the winter, between seasons, by either swimming for a club team or playing club water polo.

“Our team is really close and we feel very cohesive in the water and out, because it’s such a small team,” Ruppert said. “We spend so much time together, that we just kind of formed a bond.”

As the season progresses, the athletes are setting their sights on the state championship, first trying to win as many games as possible. The state series is scheduled for May 19-21 at Stevenson High School.