May 22, 2024

OC Sports Zone: Community First

PHOTOS: Northwood girls water polo team inches closer to first league crown

Northwood senior Sophie Smith rises for a shot in Thursday’s PCL match. (Photos courtesy Michael An, For OC Sports Zone)

Northwood High’s girls water polo team had two convincing Pacific Coast League wins this week to improve its record to 18-8 overall and 7-1 league in league play.

To see the slide show, please click on the first photo

With a win on Monday at 4 p.m. vs. Irvine at Northwood, the team has a chance to make history by winning the league championship for the first time ever.

After an earlier defeat, the Timberwolves responded with a 10-6 win over Woodbridge Tuesday. Freshmen led the offensive attack with Valerie Wraith scoring six goals and Ella-Blue Wilmot adding two.

Seniors Hannah Miller and Sarah Buting both scored one goal and sophomore goalkeeper Sanjana Venkatesh had 11 saves with two assists.

In Thursday’s game vs. Portola, the graduating class of 2020 was celebrated. Northwood’s program has 11 graduating seniors.

With everyone contributing, the Timberwolves won 13-1 after taking a 7-0 halftime lead.

Wraith surpassed the 100 goal mark with six goals. She now has 105 goals for the season in 21 games played. Miller had four goals, two assists and threee steals.

Wilmot, Buting, and sopohomore Kaitlyn Kong each added one goal as well. Sophomore Lauren Nguyen was able to shut down the two meter offensive player and had a team high of four steals. Venkatesh had another impressive game with 11 saves, two assists, and one steal.

“We have been playing some good, focused, and consistent water polo right now,” said Northwood Coach Kyle Kim-E. “Sometimes, I know that the distraction of a senior game can cause problems but the girls came out fired up. We have been working on having a good game, regardless of who we play, from start to finish. 

“I love that the girls have gained a lot of confidence over the past couple of weeks. They are a very talented team and now have the inner-confidence to back that up. Their hard work has paid off and to play for the league championship on Monday is extremely exciting. 

“The girls know to keep focused though and we’re going to keep training hard not only for league but also for the playoffs coming up. We know not to underestimate or overestimate everyone, and we aren’t leaving anything to chance.”