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Making a Splash in Waterpolo History

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Olivia Quagliani

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Giving Thanks Year Round
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Emma+Cooper+searches+for+the+opening+in+the+cage+to+make+a+goal.
Emma Cooper searches for the opening in the cage to make a goal.

Emma Cooper searches for the opening in the cage to make a goal.

Emma Cooper searches for the opening in the cage to make a goal.

Xavier’s winter sports are in full swing as DVL competitions began over the winter break. Among the winter sports, there is Girls Water Polo, and on January 8, 2018, the varsity team defeated Palm Desert High School for the first time in history. The final score was 15-7 with goals scored by most of the girls, especially seniors Megan Holmes and Emma Cooper. As relayed by Emma Cooper, “Practice really prepares us for games because it enhances our endurance and the drills we run mimic possible situations in games. We also trust in each other which transfers to our chemistry in games.” Emma described how she felt after the game, “Beating Palm Desert definitely felt good because it was a step closer to winning DVL finals.” Freshman Sammy Castillo even felt the importance of this victory. Sammy said, “Even though this is my first year playing Water Polo, I can feel how amazing it was that we beat PD. Our team is such a talented group of girls, and I am grateful to be able to play with these people.”

Megan Holmes defends the ball in order to allow her teammates to set up the play.

As many of the girls on the team know, training is everything. Coach Valovic enforces the mentality that the girls can push themselves beyond what they believe to be their limit. Jillian Barbato agrees that “We work extremely hard and are all dedicated to each other and the team as a whole. All the early mornings in the weight room, the freezing practices at night, and the endless drills contribute to our success because we not only develop water polo skills, but we develop a sense of camaraderie, responsibility, and determination.”

Coach Cenicola felt as if the game itself was mostly good, but has room for improvement. She believes that since PD’s team consisted of newer and younger players, it allowed her to play XCP’s newer players in front of many people. “After 8 seasons of losing to PD, it feels good to win, but we are humbled by the fact that next year is a whole new season, and it’s anybody’s game.” Coach Cenicola and Coach Valovic enforce swim conditioning, going over drills visually, and activating muscle memory. They also implement specific habits and mindsets into their athletes in order for them to become their best. The girls are expected to eat cleanly by ridding of any non-nutritional food, are expected to balance their time logically, trust in their training, and most importantly, they are asked to be encouraging to their teammates. Coach Cenicola shares, “Our philosophy is not solely about winning games but promoting teamwork, working for your team, and making each other better people. We want to create a team that supports each other, supports work ethic, and gives back to one another.”

Coach Valovic talks strategy with the team before the game.

Just as the girls on this team support each other, they would all love for the Xavier community to support them by attending their few final games. The team’s DVL finals match will be held on Wednesday, February 7, 5 pm at our home pool, the Palm Desert Aquatics Center. Mark your calendars to come support your Girls Water Polo team!

 

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Making a Splash in Waterpolo History