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New coaches excited to bring fresh perspective to girls water polo team

After an impressive run in last year’s Central Coast Section (CCS) tournament, the girls water polo team looks to have even more success with two new coaches.

Deke Rowell will coach the junior varsity team (JV) and Doug Stotland will coach varsity. Both coaches are familiar with the sport and, additionally, have daughters playing on the team.

“Winning that game made everyone realize how far we have come and how hard we have worked, and it was a positive reminder of our progress.”

Deke Rowell

Over the summer, Stotland started a summer program to get to know everyone and to begin the road to becoming CCS champions.

“I started the summer program about three weeks in, and Coach Doug had already created really strong relationships with the girls,” said junior and varsity player Grace Rowell. “A lot of people were excited about the abundance of passion he displayed for water polo and the increased player-coach communication he provided.”

“Our goal is pretty straight forward,” Rowell said. “We’ve got 15 freshman on the team, and we want them to learn to love the game, learn how to play it and enjoy it. We also want to get these girls to the point where they’re competitive and ready to play on varsity.”

The opening of the Peery Family Center has allowed the water polo teams to return to the pool at Paly.

“The opening of the gym has definetly helped all the teams in terms of efficiency as well as relationships between all water polo players at Paly,”  Rowell said.

On the other hand, the varsity team will not be changing much. Nine seniors will return this year, and many juniors will return as well.

Chesnie Cheung, a sophomore who plays on varsity said, “We are losing two seniors who played vital roles on our team.  Haley Chalmers was extremely fast and was a good player, and Joanna Falla, our goalkeeper from last year, left as well.  I still think that we can exceed expectations and perform at a high level this year.”

The varsity squad has already played three out-of-conference games this season.

The girls won two of their three games, the last one being won 11-3 against Carlmont High School.

“Winning that game made everyone realize how far we have come and how hard we have worked, and it was a positive reminder of our progress,” Rowell said.

The girls hope to gain motivation from this year’s captains, and are optimistic for a great season.

The captains this year include Hollie Chiao, Sabrina Hall, Sophie Frick and Talia Stanley, all of whom are returning seniors from last years girls water polo team.

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