Water polo finishes strong despite losses

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Water polo finishes strong despite losses

SORE: Junior Jenna Wallace aims for a goal against Drake. Photo by: Jade Jones-Hawk

SORE: Junior Jenna Wallace aims for a goal against Drake. Photo by: Jade Jones-Hawk

SORE: Junior Jenna Wallace aims for a goal against Drake. Photo by: Jade Jones-Hawk

SORE: Junior Jenna Wallace aims for a goal against Drake. Photo by: Jade Jones-Hawk

Jenna Wallace

SORE: Junior Jenna Wallace aims for a goal against Drake. Photo by: Jade Jones-Hawk

Tamalpais High School’s girls varsity water polo lost 9-8 to Drake High School on October 27 and to Northgate High School by 11-3 on November 3. These losses were attributed to a lack of consistent focus and communication during the last two games, something that left individual members of the team feeling frustrated.

“We have a lot of skills and talented people- we just need to work on communication and focus,” said sophomore and Tam News reporter Pauline Hauzy.

“It was kind of a frustrating season, because some games everyone played pretty well and others there was just a lack of energy,” said sophomore Maddi Miller.

Though the team’s last two games of the season didn’t go as expected, given the Hawks overall record of 19-7, Tam’s Girls Water Polo overall had a season they could be proud of.

Prior to the November 3rd game, Tam’s Girls Varsity were feeling confident, if a little tired from their season.

Coach Brandon spoke to the underclassmen directly before the game, saying, “We have two seniors- if you aren’t going to play for yourself, play for them.”

Tam started strong against Northgate High’s Girls Varsity, leading 2 to 1 until a 5 meter penalty shot made by Northgate’s Lonnie Tittle. Tam and Northgate headed into the second quarter tied, until Tittle scored again at 5:14, bringing Northgate a lead they never lost.

Though the second quarter was a flurry of trading shots and vicious underwater skirmishes, a second goal put Northgate in the lead, 4-2, at halftime. At the bench, tempers were running high and more than one Tam player looked exhausted. Coach Williams encouraged the girls to listen to each other and stay united.

Heading into the third quarter, the girls began to take increasingly aggressive shots on goal, hoping to gain on Northgate. Sadly, Northgate scored a successive six points, for a 10-2 lead at the end of the third quarter.

Hoping to give sophomore and Tam News reporter Gabrielle Hauzy a break, Coach Williams swapped senior Kristen Sato into play from her goalie position. Tam managed two spectacular shots in the fourth quarter- one by junior Sami Harvey, and one by junior Ali Coopersmith when there were four seconds left on the clock. Unfortunately, these last minute goals were not enough for Tam to make up the difference in points, and Northgate won 11-3.

“I felt bad, because we totally could have won that game, and I feel bad for the seniors, it was their last game and we could have played well and won it for them,” said sophomore Sarah Ellison. “Though I’d rather lose this game by 8 then lose a game by 42, which is what would have happened if we had advanced.”

Gabrielle Hauzy chimes in, “Last night- we did poorly. But we were so tired- we were just off our game.”

The match against Drake decided which team would advance and take on Marin County in the fight for the MCAL championships. Going into the game, Tam players were optimistic, riding a post-victory high from their last successful game and a tournament win the previous weekend.

Drake began with an early lead, scoring on two of three taken shots, Tam tested Drake’s defense ferociously, taking five shots in the first quarter and scoring three points.

Tam scored two points during the second half, giving them a 5 to 2 lead over Drake through halftime.

Tam and Drake tied early on in the third quarter, but Drake managed to score three more shots, bringing them into a lead they never lost.

“It was ridiculous- we were winning at halftime and then they came out and scored like three goals. People were crying at the end,” said junior Sami Harvey.

Also, a case of mistaken identity could be responsible for the ejection of Tam player Jenna Wallace, midway through the second quarter. Wallace, who had already been sent off twice, may have been mistakenly identified for a foul perpetuated by a fellow teammate. Wallace was extremely irate at being unable to continue playing. “I can’t wait until this game is over so I can kick someone’s a–. It’s ridiculous,” she said as she climbed out of the pool. Wallace, who is pegged as a possible captain next season, being removed from play may have contributed to the Hawks loss; Wallace jokingly inferred so.

Coach Brandon Williams urged his girls to not let up going into the final quarter. “We’re a team girls- you got to stay together. You guys gotta go harder. We need some offense,” he said.

Tam brought the heat during the fourth quarter, taking eight shots on goal and scoring three points, however Drake also scored three points, one off a penalty shot with 58 seconds left in the game, bringing the Pirates a 9-8 win.

“We made them turn the ball over- be proud of how you played,” said Coach Williams to his team post-game.

Though Tam’s Girls Water Polo may not have made it to MCAL’s this year, the team overall finished with a strong record, 19-7. The girls felt that they were as close as family, and each was very proud of what had been accomplished this season as individuals and as a team.

“Our team is very fun- if you want to make good friends, it’s a great sport. We become close. We all get along and like each other, it’s a big family,” says Gabrielle Hauzy.

“I’m proud of them- even if we had bad games, they didn’t take it too negatively. They’re a great group of girls and a great group of people. [The team] can be a dysfunctional family, but we have our ups and downs together,” said Coach Williams.

Written by Jade Jones-Hawk. This article originally appeared in the December 2010 issue.