Girls’ Water Polo Loses First Game of the Season to Northwood High


Courtesy of Mojdeh Hashemi

Sophomore Danielle Akiva, juniors Summer Sim and Charlotte Hsu, senior Adele Yoon and junior Selin Bennett gather around water polo coaches Kate Avery and Andrew Kranz during a time out. After being cleared to pass with balls and play with contact two weeks ago, players had the opportunity to scrimmage and practice their plays to prepare for the game.

Girls’ water polo (0-2) lost 2-11 to Northwood High on March 4 with two of the team’s varsity starters unable to play and three other varsity players in Utah playing a club water polo game, according to head water polo coach Kate Avery.

Their next game is on March 12 at 4:15 against Irvine High at Portola.

“I think [missing players] was probably the biggest hurdle we needed to jump over, other than the fact that we had not been practicing all together,” Avery said. “We just recently had decided that we were only going to run a varsity level, versus a varsity and [junior varsity], so we’re kind of in the process of pulling girls up and getting them acclimated to the varsity team.”

Key player and junior Charlotte Hsu showed off her leadership and communication skills throughout the game by staying vocal and also scoring one of the Bulldogs’ two goals of the game.

“We tried our best, but at the end of the day the only way to prepare for a game is to practice game-like scenarios, and with COVID restrictions it was a bit of a problem,” Hsu said. “We worked with what we had, and we did a great job considering, and I’m proud of my girls.”

After senior Niki Torab scored Portola’s first goal by running a drive on offense, the team felt more confident and motivated to keep trying their best to win in the game, according to sophomore Danielle Akiva.

“Overall, there were some really good pieces, and I don’t think we really ever gave up, which is something that we struggled with last year where we would go down by three or four girls, and we would just decide, ‘Okay now we are done,’” Avery said. “I don’t think we ever got to that point yesterday, so definitely a lot of things to be happy about.”

Avery played and started some of her junior varsity players due to her confidence in their abilities to help the team succeed. Akiva was one of the players challenged to face the greater rigor of a varsity game due to her skill as a key defensive player. 

“Everything was super quick because not even a month ago we weren’t allowed to pass with balls, but I think we were pretty ready because once we got in the game, everything just came back to us just as if we were playing a game before COVID hit,” Akiva said.