by Roger Wistar
With a smaller, more close-knit roster, the girls water polo team looks at this season as an opportunity for each player to have both significant contributions and meaningful growth.
"We have to think about everyone developing together," said head coach John McBratney. "Everyone will get playing time and everyone will need to contribute in a game situation."
Co-captain Lucia Poggi '18 was bullish on the season, noting that nearly every member of the team has prior experience playing water polo. This has allowed the team to spend less time on basic fundamentals and focus its energy on more coordinated strategy and tactics, she added.
Ultimately, Poggi and fellow captain Nevada Lee '18 hope to keep building the foundation of the program for the foreseeable future. "We want to leave this season with a really tight-knit team and leave the lowerclassmen with a legacy and a program to continue and build from," she said.
One of the keys to the team's success will be Lee, now in her fourth year as the team's deep-water goalie. "Nevie is a phenomenal goalie, which gives the team a lot of confidence and the ability to move around and do our thing in the pool," said Poggi.
Lee was quick to credit the rest of the team as well for its performance on defense. "We are a pretty fast team, so we are able to transition quickly when we need to, which is always an advantage," she said.
Speed will need to be another important factor in the team's ability to be successful on both offense and defense. Both Lee and Poggi gave kudos to several players, particularly returners Liz Williams '19 and Sophia de Pena '18, for their speed and shooting ability.
"As Coach McBratney likes to say, we have a few cannons on the team," said Lee.
In order for the team to find success on offense, the ball will need to come to shooters who are in open water, said McBratney. Constant movement will be essential to create those mismatches and scoring opportunities, he said.
McBratney added that this year, the team is showing more confidence with the ball. "We're not afraid to shoot," he said. "When our girls are in good positions now, they can recognize them and take those shots."