Palo Alto High School’s girls water polo team closed out its regular season with a loss on Oct. 30 to rival Henry M. Gunn High School, ending the season with a record of 13-14, 6-6. This game also served as the team’s senior night and was in honor the two seniors on the team, Olivia Scola and Tess van Hulsen.
The Lady Vikes ended the first quarter 3-1 but were able to score one more goal on Gunn during the second quarter, ending the half with a score of 3-2. The team held off Gunn during a scoreless third quarter, but Gunn was able to score several more goals the fourth quarter, raising the final score to 7-2.
The team played Los Altos High School in the first round of playoffs in the Santa Clara Valley Athletic League (SCVAL) Tournament on Nov. 6. For the first half, the Lady Vikes trailed behind Los Altos, keeping the score at 1-0. By the end of the third quarter, however, Los Altos was in the lead 3-0. The final score of the game was 5-1 with the only Paly goal scored by junior Gigi Rojahn.
The Lady Vikes continued on in the playoffs with games against Homestead High School and Mountain View High School on Nov. 7.
After remaining tied in the Homestead game, the game went into overtime. In the end, Paly won the game 9-4. In the game against Mountain View High School , Paly continued its streak and won 7-5.
Due to these later wins in the SCVAL playoffs, the Lady Vikes continued onto the Central Coast Section (CCS) playoffs. The team’s first game was on Nov. 11 against Woodside High School. The Lady Vikes began the game strong and ended the first quarter 4-0 with goals by van Hulsen and juniors Rojahn, Katie Francis and Alina Drebin. Woodside came back in the second quarter, but van Hulsen and freshman Sabrina Hall scored as well, keeping Paly in the lead 6-4 at the half.
Throughout the second half, Paly got in more shots against Woodside, raising the score with goals by van Hulsen, Rojahn, Francis, Drebin and Scola. Woodside was able to get in several more shots near the end of the game but ultimately were not able to catch up, and the Lady Vikes won 12-7 and advanced on in CCS playoffs.
After the game, Francis reflected on what the team did well with during the game.
“We were able to make a lot of plays happen, and a lot of people got to make shots,” Francis said. “We kept pushing through the entire game, and we were able to pull out a win.”
After the win against Woodside, the Lady Vikes began to concentrate on their coming games in the CCS playoffs.
“We’re probably going to work on defense,” Francis said.
On Nov. 13, the Lady Vikes faced off against Carlmont in the quarter-finals of CCS playoffs. Paly struggled in the first half, lagging behind 3-1 going into the third quarter with the only Paly goal in the first half by Rojahn. The third quarter started off with an immediate goal by Francis, raising the score to 3-2. While Paly managed to score an additional three goals by Rojahn, van Hulsen and Francis, Carlmont scored three goals as well, keeping the lead 6-5 going into the fourth quarter.
The final quarter began with two Paly goals by Scola and van Hulsen, getting the team in the lead for the first time in the game with a score of 7-6. A penalty shot by Francis and two Carlmont goals tied the game at 8-8. In the last 12 seconds of the game, the Lady Vikes were able to move the ball up the pool and Francis shot and scored, clinching the win for Paly 9-8 and allowing the team to continue on in CCS championships.
The Lady Vikes played Gunn on Nov. 15 in the CCS semi-finals and were defeated 5-2. The first half ended with the Titans up 2-0, and though Paly was able to score two goals in the second half, one by Scola and one by Rojahn and the team was ultimately overtaken as Gunn scored three more goals.
Due to this loss, the team did not continue onto the CCS finals and ended its postseason games.