May 29, 2024

OC Sports Zone: Community First

Northwood girls water polo team celebrates first PCL title with a leap into the pool

Northwood’s water polo team and Coach Kyle Kim-E celebrate in the pool Monday after winning the PCL title. (Photo courtesy Northwood water polo)

Northwood’s girls water polo team made history Monday afternoon.

The Timberwolves defeated Irvine 7-5 in a Pacific Coast League match at Northwood to win the first league championship in the program’s history. It’s also Coach Kyle Kim-E’s first league championship as a coach.

Kim-E, who also coaches the boys water polo team, was a two-time league champion as a player at Northwood.

Northwood charged out to a 6-1 lead at halftime and held off Irvine to win.

Freshman Valerie Wraith continued her offensive dominance with four goals. Freshman Ella-Blue Wilmot scored two goals and senior co-captain Hannah Miller scored one.

On defense, senior co-captain Sarah Buting led the team with three steals. Sophomore Sanjana Venkatesh had 13 saves.

“When Hannah Miller was a freshman, our team’s goal was to win a league game,” Kim-E said. “Fast forward to her senior year and we’re League champions.

“There have been a lot of ups and downs, but it feels amazing to see the growth and progression of our girl’s program. It took a lot of patience and commitment to trust the process. The girls stepped up and put in the time, effort, and more that was needed to achieve our goals.

“This league championship reflects those years of growth and the girls this year were able to bring home the championship. It’s nice knowing that Northwood High School girls water polo finally has a league championship after 21 years. I am a very proud coach of these girls.”

The team will find out who it will meet in the playoffs this weekend.

“We are looking forward to the CIF playoffs and we expect to be in the top 10 of our division,” Kim-E said. “We’re unsure of who we’ll see in our bracket, but we are going to treat each game like we have for league. We aren’t going to underestimate anyone and we’re going to play four quarters of focused and intense water polo.”