It’s been four years since the last time Mar Vista Girls Water Polo made the CIF championships. With their 10-0 league standings, the Lady Mariners went into the CIF championships as the No. 1 seed. This year, the Lady Mariners won every CIF game, made it to the finals, and took home the win in the finals against La Costa Canyon, the No. 6 seed on Saturday, Feb. 22.
It was a game with two good teams. With only 12 seconds left of the championship game and a tied score of 9-9, senior Melanie Clamp broke the tie with the winning goal and junior Abbey Harbin made the last block.
“Probably one of the most exciting finishes we’ve had,” said Head Coach Chad Kavanagh of the game. “I am very proud of these girls. They have worked very hard for four months to accomplish this. Some have been playing this sport year-round for four years in order to put their team in a position to win a CIF title. It is a very rewarding win as a coach, knowing that all of the hard work, time, and sacrifice has been worth it. Not only did these girls prepare to win and made themselves capable of winning, but when it came to big moments in overtime or in the final seconds of the game they didn’t crumble under pressure; they did what they needed to do to win.”
The varsity Girls Water Polo team had graduated a lot of seniors last year, so that many of this year’s team had never experienced a championship. With four of this year’s seniors leaving, Kavanagh said, “It’s a very good experience for the Class of 20 seniors to end their [last] year with a CIF win.”
Clamp, Summer Chalmers, Alli Worthington and Skye Spaulding are the seniors for this year’s championship team who will be graduating in the spring.
“I’m still excited for next year,” said Kavanagh. “These girls have a lot of talent.”
While it takes a team to get a win, currently, sophomore Tatum Billings holds the record for the most goals scored on the team, closely followed by Clamp. Other valuable players to look at now and in the future are juniors Harbin, Makaila Caswall, Annie Dickson, Kayla Quinones and Iliana Lopez; sophomores Sophia Matthews and Gabriela Murrieta; and freshmen Cassidy McManus.
With this CIF Championship win, the Girls qualified for and will continue practicing for their upcoming state competition. Currently, the team has a 23-5 record.
The Girls will be in the playoff game Friday night, Feb. 28, at Ocean View High School near Huntington against Cleveland High School from Reseda, California. The game will begin at 7:50 p.m.
“I know they have a very good chance of winning for this week’s state game,” said Kavanagh. “If we win, we could have two more games on Saturday, Feb. 29, for the Southern California State Regional Title.”
Congratulations Lady Mariners and good luck at state!