Juliana Pierce(#7) swims to get across the pool at La Jolla Coggan Aquatic Center. During the game, the team focused on passing and driving the ball to each other in order to get the score up against Poway. Photo by Joyce Diez and photo edits by Daniel Powell.

 

Sofia Reyes
ARTS AND CULTURE EDITOR
@ffritacrusader

 

Summary
Division II CIF Quarter finals
Date: Friday February 17 2017. @5:15
Location: Coggan Family Aquatic Center Complex, La Jolla
Opponent: Poway, Titans (dark caps)

Starters: 1,3,4,10,13,16
First half: The first two periods were played very closely, the score at halftime ended as a tie 3-3
Second half: Within the first minutes of the third period Bonita scored against Poway, giving themselves a lead of 4-3 which helped boost them to their 7-5 win

 

The Bonita Vista High School girls’ varsity water polo team won their Mesa League title and quickly added onto their undefeated streak at their California Interscholastic Federation quarterfinals on Friday, Feb. 17. Despite stormy conditions and 50 degree weather, the limited crowd in the bleachers were excited, rooting and booing along with every play. The girls were also unaffected by the weather as they continued to play, even at the risk of lightning.

“If anything, the weather didn’t affect how we played, but it affected our intensity. We knew we were going to have an intense game but the weather on top of that made it even more serious,” senior varsity girls’ water polo flat Sierra Kriss said. “When we were warming up we were kind of scared but it actually didn’t have that much of an effect once we got in the game.”

According to Kriss, other obstacles the Lady Barons faced going into Friday’s game was their opponent: the Poway Titans. Previously the Lady Barons faced off with them at a tournament in early February where a double over-time occurred, resulting in Poway winning with a score of 8-7.

“The second round, quarterfinal game of CIF, was a very important game to win because first of all we haven’t been to semi-finals in a long time and also because it was against a team that we lost to previously before by one point, so it was crucial to win,” junior and varsity girls’ water polo co-captain, Juliana Pierce said.

In order to prepare for the CIF quarterfinal game the Lady Barons first had to win the Division II finals game, which was accomplished with a score of 10-3 against Mt. Caramel. According to Kriss, the girls also used past knowledge in order to move ahead after the quarterfinal game.

“We wanted to focus on driving across the pool and moving [Poway’s] defense. It’s more of a strategy than a play, but we knew one of [Poway’s] players really strong so we would always make sure we had a counter attack ready, preventing her from scoring,” Kriss said. “That’s what we learned from that tournament game that we played them.”

The strategy proved to be effective as the Lady Barons continuously recovered from being in a tie with Poway for the first two quarters of the game. Once halftime hit, the score was still tied at 3-3, but the team quickly recovered.

“When we came back in the 3rd quarter we all knew what needed to happen and right off the bat [senior] Sam Medlem did a skip shot that definitely picked up the speed of the game and got us the lead which eventually led to the win,” Kriss said.

Along with the strategies, the team also felt that other factors have led to their wins. For one, most of the players are returners and fluidity within the team has been very successful this season, according to Kriss and Pierce.

“The group of girls we have this season is really special because this is the first year that everyone is really tightly knit, it’s a really good unit,” senior and girls’ varsity water polo goalie and co-captain Emily Williams said. “The fact that we’re friends outside of the water means that when we’re in the water, in a game, we can communicate without having to actually speak. You can trust everyone, there’s no rifts within the team.”

The girls’ water polo coach Betty Alexander has also helped lead the team to their success and many players hold her in high regards.

“First off our coaches are really experienced, they’re also really good with plays and other things like that. I just feel like we have some of the best coaches in the area because they know what the game is, and they know how to play it, so they help us out with that,” Williams said.

Moving forward, the Lady Barons have constantly been practicing and prepping. According to Kriss, Pierce and Williams, the entire team is excited and ready to face their next opponents.

“We’ve been scrimmaging and we analyzed the weaknesses of the other teams. So on Thursday we will be playing [against] Del Norte. They are number one, but we watched them play on Friday and one of their weaknesses is their goalie and their biggest strength is one of their players, so we’ve been working on a specific defense to eliminate her as a threat,” Kriss said.

The sense of pride and accomplishment also is felt amongst the team. According to Kriss, the varsity girls’ water polo team last won CIF in 2009, and the idea of being able to win the banner once again inspired the the team.

“As a captain during this season, it feels fun and and rewarding. I feel so proud, not that it’s because of me, but I just feel so proud that I am able to be captain of a team that’s doing so good and I’m just so proud of everybody,” Pierce said.