Girls’ Water Polo’s Loss Marks the End of a Record-Breaking Streak


Hannah Ko

Utility player and sophomore Maya McGuane receives a wide pass from attacker and senior Emma Amakasu and propels herself above the water to deliver a power shot at the 2-meter line during the last 2 minutes of the game. “Even towards the end when we knew we were going to lose with the giant gap and little time, we still played really hard, and we still made a bunch of plays to get one last shot off, and we never gave up, ” hole set and freshman Alexis Minasyan said.

Girls’ water polo (19-8) concluded its win streak with a 5-7 semi finals loss against Marlborough High’s Mustangs on Feb. 15. This game marked the official end of their season for the Bulldogs.

The Mustangs scored the first goal early on in the first quarter, but the Bulldogs made a quick recovery with a pass by hole set and freshman Alexis Minasyan to attacker and senior Emma Amakasu, who scored the second goal of the game. Both teams then scored one goal each, ending the first quarter with a 2-2 tie.

Going into the second quarter, the Bulldogs struggled to maintain an offensive position and conceded three goals to the Mustangs despite taking multiple consistent shots on target and creating deep passes, according to head girls’ water polo coach Veronica Heidke. 

“During this game, we were more defensive because we heard that they had a really great set, so we had to get rid of their main shooter before we could go on the offensive, and I think that might have been a bit of our downfall,” Minasyan said. “Even though we were getting shots off, it was really slow, so by the time we had an opportunity to pass or shoot the ball, the goalie or defender would come and guard the girl.”

Despite the Mustangs gaining a 7-2 lead in the third quarter, the Bulldogs maintained focus until the last minutes of the game and closed the score gap with three additional goals during the last quarter.

During the last 12 seconds of the game, Amakasu made a long power shot, scoring the fifth goal of the game and final goal of the season.

“I think we were down by three, and we wanted to get one last goal for Emma since it’s her senior year,” utility flat and sophomore Serena Wang said. “So we all lined up and when the whistle blew, we swam in to confuse the defenders so Emma could swim to the set position and score the last goal.”

As the season closes, the Bulldogs celebrate girls’ water polo’s first-ever advancement to CIF and set more leadership goals for the next season. 

“Honestly, I am most proud of the work they put in this season,” Heidke said. “Last year, they didn’t even come to practice five days a week, and this year we practiced twice a day, every single day. They came to the weight room, they swam, they played through the rain, cold and everything, so I’m super proud of them. They really became athletes this season.”