Girls’ water polo prepares for upcoming league games


JV goalie Kat Buisson reaches out to stop a goal from Rocklin High School on Sept. 9. Photo by ELLE HSU

Players are brutally wrestling each other for the ball when suddenly, the buzzer sounds, and everyone in the water becomes still. Welcome to the game of water polo. Ranked by ESPN as one of the hardest sports in the world, water polo has given “physical” a new meaning.

A mixture of basketball, soccer and swimming, water polo is a sport with six players, and subs often switch out. The object is clear: get possession of the ball, shoot it, and score.  A problem for the players is trying to sprint across the pool without someone clawing at their back and potentially drowning them. They may do anything to the opponent, as long as it is underwater. However, it is common to go against the rules, and players often illegally throw punches out of water when the referees are not looking.

“During the game, we’re basically the ringmaster. We grab on tightly to their suits and hold them under the water when the refs aren’t looking,” girls’ varsity player Emma Towslee said.

Towslee is one of the field players whose job is to defend against the opponent and swim the ball to the goal when they have the chance. These players take the brunt of the punches and scratches.

However, different players have a very different view of the game. Christina Daley, a junior on the varsity team, doesn’t get as many scratches as her teammates, but still plays a key position that is crucial when it comes to blocking.

“I am the goalie, and instead of actually getting onto the field, I just eggbeater with my shoulders out and if the ball comes my way, I either attack or get up on my legs. I also end up screaming a lot,” Daley said.

Katelene Gonzalo, a sophomore on the JV team, plays the most important position in water polo. Having a skilled player in this position can often make a team difficult to beat.

“I am the whole set and I always wrestle with other strong players near the goal. It’s actually really tough and I’m constantly protecting the ball or shooting,” Gonzalo said.

In order to be prepared for matches against tough teams, the girls’ combined teams always works on technique and endurance at practice.

“We start with swim sets for warm up, then we work on passing, and after that we do sprint drills. At the end, maybe we’ll scrimmage, “  girls’ varsity player Kaylee Harlan said.

Even though it’s just the pre-season, the girls’ water polo team has already set upcoming goals for themselves.

“Our team needs more passion this year. We need a strong drive for the game. I think that will increase our ability,” Towslee said.

In the meantime, the girls’ teams have been having non league games with other local schools like Eldorado and Rocklin. The Varsity team has had a win with Mira Loma, and experienced a couple losses. The JV team has had wins with Mira Loma, El Dorado, and Del Campo. Their first official league game will be October 9th with Rio Americano.

The girls’ are also especially excited this year at the chance of going to Sectionals. For that to happen, they will need to beat two of their league competitors.

“I’m proud of our team, and considering the fact that most of us are new players, we’re doing really good right now.It’s going to take time and determination, but we’ll make it,” Gonzalo said.