It has been a long season for the Mar Vista High School Girl’s water polo team and it ended in the best way possible. On Saturday, Feb. 22, the team won the CIF championship.
One week later, on Friday, Feb. 28, and Saturday, Feb. 29, they won the regional championship, finishing the season off as the best girls water polo in Division III in Southern California. They are the State Champions.
During the Regional championship tournament, Coach Chad Kavanagh noted key moments in each game that allowed for them to procure a win. In the first game the team started off very strong.
Kavanagh said, “We really established ourselves as leaders in the beginning of the game. We also were able to get two ejections on one of their best players, but overall, when we came out strong in the beginning, it gave us the game.
“In the second round of the competition, the game was much slower and much closer in the first part of it; luckily the Mariners were able to break the gridlock, with scores from seniors and team captains Sky Spaulding and Summer Chalmers. The second game was pretty close in the first quarter; we were tied with one point each. In the second quarter Spaulding scored against their goalie, making it 2-1. [It was] a close game that ended the fourth quarter 2-2. We won in triple overtime sudden victory when Summer Chalmers scored 27 seconds into the triple-overtime quarter. That goalie was really good, but Summer made another good shot.”
In the third and final game, as well as the game that determined the new regional champions, Kavanagh said that they played hard, but it seemed that the team’s thirst for victory drove them to win. He said, “We maintained a five point lead for most of the game. We implemented the strategies that we’ve used previously, but it was mostly mentality; we really were fired up.”
In the state championships, Melani Clamp scored 7 goals, had 6 assists, 9 steals and 5 drawn ejections. Tatum Billings had 9 goals, 6 assists, 11 steals and 10 drawn ejections. In the third game, Iliana Lopez scored a hat trick (3 goals).
Senior and captain Melanie Clamp also added, “to make it all the way to state, we all were in it to win it.”
As for the season as a whole, the girls managed to do very well. It seemed that one of the biggest reasons for this was good team work. In order to excel, Clamp said, “Teamwork and hard work from day one. Mentality definitely drove us, but our skills as a team, working together, really made us win.”
Chalmers said, “The team has worked hard from the start. I believe the way we play our game gave us the chance to make a run to the championship.”
Both captains seemed to believe that the team had a good offense as well as a good defense, but mostly because of how everyone in the pool could rely on each other. “Throughout state and CIF, our defense was a big part of winning all of those games,” said Clamp, “This team was never based on one person but as a whole team; we have each other’s backs!”
Chalmers said, “Our team isn’t just one person, which makes everyone a threat in the pool.” After a moment, she added, “I think the team’s water polo knowledge has helped how we play a lot.”
When Clamp was asked about a reflection on the entire season, she said, “The team has been together for two years now, and this year it all came together.”
Chalmers noted that, “Our team has been playing together now for a while, not just in high school, but in club as well, and that skill really helped us out.”
This is many of the girls’ last season playing for high school; a couple of them are seniors. It was a well deserved achievement for them, and was the perfect end for the season.
Kavanagh said, “The girls killed it out there, and they earned those wins.”
Congratulations on the great season girls; here’s to many more great ones!