By Nasheetah Hossain
The girls water polo team successfully started their season with a win against Bishop Alemany High School, 8-6. The girls are currently 4-0 having recently beat Camarillo High School and El Camino Real High School in the Mistletoe Tournament on December 1.
Their first game against Alemany was a precursor for their future and highly motivated the girls to continue their success. The team held the lead throughout the entire game and the audience was highly enthusiastic and supportive.
“In the last 30 seconds of the game, all of the GHC spectators were cheering and clapping the entire time which created such a sense of pride for my team and me,” girls co-captain and senior Alexis Hopp said.
This year’s team has a great working dynamic. Last season they were close to beating Palisades Charter High School, which would have sent them to City Finals. However, they lost 8-9. The team hopes that they will be successful in reaching the finals this season.
“We have a really good chance of making it to CIF because we gained a lot of new freshmen that are really good and have potential,” right-wing and junior Alyssa Sanchez said.
The team’s 5:00 a.m. practices are rigorous to help them train for their games. The girls arrive at their practices at Porter Valley Country Club 15 minutes early to stretch, making a very early morning for them. Then spend about an hour and a half in the pool. They swim for about 30 minutes and then spend the last hour on ball work such as passing and scoring.
Water polo is an intense sport, requiring lots of training and practice. Because so much of the game takes place under the water, it can even be violent.
“My friend who plays set, the middle position, comes out of games with bruises. It’s scary, you don’t see anything under the water. But, the adrenaline rush makes it worth it, especially when you win. It’s a lot of work. A lot of us love swimming, but like team sports more because of the camaraderie with your teammates,” Sanchez said.
The girls on this year’s team share a strong and intimate bond. They drive each other to succeed in the pool and be the best versions of themselves.
“My team values more than just winning and losing. To me, these are the girls that I connect with on a different level more than with anyone else. We struggle together at 5:00 a.m. practices, but it builds our connection and allows us to perform stronger in our games,” Hopp said.
Be sure to cheer the girls on at their next game against Kennedy High School after Winter Break on January 9. The game will take place at Birmingham Community Charter High School.