Women’s Water Polo concludes season against EBAL rival California

On Oct. 24, Women’s water polo ended their season with an intense game against the California High School Grizzlies, reaching a final score of 8-2 in Cal’s favor, despite playing excellently.

The cool fall wind blew the orange-red leaves, creeping behind the onlookers. The tension of the final game of the DVHS women’s water polo team against Cal High hung in the air as both teams warmed up in the pool. The spatter of footsteps and cheers from their respective friends and families was audible in the background when the referee’s whistle pierced through the noise, signaling the start of the women’s match.

As soon as the ball made initial contact with the water, Cal lurched forward, winning the swim-off. Within just a minute-and-a-half, Cal attempted a shot but missed the goal. However, this didn’t deter them, as after a close miss by DV, Cal whacked a ball to the back of the net.

After four more tense attempts, Cal scored two goals, ending the quarter on a low note of 3-0, in favor of Cal. Despite being behind, DV supporters never wavered in enthusiasm.

With a turn of plays, no goals occurred in the second quarter. Instead, there was nerve-wracking back-and-forth between both teams, with close shots by DV. Cal nearly scored as well, but the majority of their shots deflected off the rim, prompting an audible sigh of relief from the DV audience each time.

Many of Cal’s attempts that didn’t deflect were cleverly blocked by DV goalie, junior Abigail Bradford. Her name was chanted loudly as she blocked balls with the mere tips of her fingers.

“Abby really stepped up,” said coach Vicki Bantz. “She was able to see where the ball was coming from and anticipate each shot.”

All the cheers spurred DV on. As the second quarter hit the three minute mark, junior Witney Lam and captain of the women’s team, spun the ball behind her back and scored a goal.

This was followed by a succession of attempted shots on the DV goal, but Bradford expertly deterred them away, keeping the score afloat at 3-1, with Cal still in the lead.

However, DV was tired, and Cal scored four quick goals within the first two-and-a-half minutes of the final quarter. DV and Cal each attempted a goal, but to no avail.

Then, after a minute of quiet play, Lam completed a goal from halfway across the pool. The ball soared through the air, and, as the crowd sat tensely, landed firmly in the back of the net.

Cal scored once more, and with only 50 seconds left in the game, received a penalty shot and made the goal. Despite three additional last second attempts, none made, closing the match at 8-2, with Cal winning.

“A lot of the time we get distracted by where the ball is, but as long as we’re on our opponent, there is less of a turnover or they get less of a chance to shoot,” Lam commented.

Despite their loss, the Wildcats remained in high spirits as they enjoyed senior night, celebrating their players and enjoying music and snacks. As senior night wrapped up, men’s water polo geared up to face against Cal in their last match.

The final game of the men’s water polo season began with a goal from Cal High. This set the precedent for the entire game as Cal was always one point ahead during the game.

Cal’s overall performance was pretty strong as most of their players were aggressive when it came to defense. While their offense was pretty weak, their defense shined through during the first half. While DV’s defense lagged during the first quarter, it picked up during the second, making the overall half a neck-to-neck fight.

The second half was far more engaging as the Wildcat seniors kicked their best plays into play. Key players from the Wildcats included seniors Noah Richards, Michael Gerges and Abhigya Wangoo. Keeping Cal’s defense at bay, these Wildcats spent most of the second half catching up to the Grizzlies.

The second half was also neck-to-neck as the game ended with an overall score of 14-13. While the Wildcats were disappointed, it did not hinder their spirits as this was the last game.