After suffering tough losses to Las Lomas High School, Sacramento High School and Castilleja High School, the girls’ varsity water polo team hopes to improve its scores despite its rough start to the season.

The team has high hopes to improve and eventually best the schools that it was unable to beat at the beginning of the season.

“I think we just need to come together as a team and overall improve the game,” senior  Abbey Kinnaman said.

The team captain, senior Martine Leclerc looks forward to helping her team improve its unity, organization and communication.

“Our defense is really good right now, and our offense is doing pretty well as well,” Leclerc said. “But we need to improve on our communication and organization. We have a problem where we don’t exactly know what the other person is doing and we end up having two people guard one person and no one guarding the goal.”

Coach Spencer Dornin agrees with Leclerc.

“We have a great defense and I am very pleased with what we are right now,” Dornin said.

Leclerc believes that many of the returning players such as co-captain senior Abbey Kinnaman, juniors Emma Wolfe and Tara Lawrence and sophomore Tess Van Hulsen will help contribute to the team’s success.

“We have a really balanced team this year” Dornin said. “We’re scoring from a lot of different players.”

The team’s offensive players have demonstrated their strengths in many different areas of the game playing at a high level already this early on.

“Tess is really fast and can counter very well,” Leclerc said. “Tara is really aggressive. Emma and Abbey are our main set players, the people who try to defend protect the net.”

Varsity junior teammate Emma Wolfe agrees that the players on this team are overall very well-rounded and talented.

“Tess is a really great shooter and Tara is really amazing,” Wolfe said.

The team will use new defense tactics such as the “m-drop” to help the team work better together on defense.

The “m-drop” is when two people guarding the main set, otherwise known as the most dangerous player on offense,  split three offensive players with two defensive players to score a goal. The team believes that their biggest rival school is Henry M. Gunn High School due to their aggressive team and high scores.

In addition, private schools such as Saint Francis High School and Sacred Heart Prep, are also some of the most challenging private schools that the team will face this season.

“Gunn is usually our biggest opponent,” Leclerc said,”Then, we’ve always had a back and forth win and loss with Los Altos. And then, private schools are pretty challenging as well. But I think we improve the most from playing private schools”.

The team believes that they have improved dramatically since last year from better defense and increased communication to faster and more powerful swimming.

With these new improvements, the team believes that they have the potential to defeat not only Gunn, but also the private schools such as Sacred Heart, and Saint Francis who have owned Paly in the past.

“We’re going to take it [each game] one game at a time,” Dornin said. “Our ultimate goal is to win a league title, and reach CCS for a shot at the championship.”

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