“We have a lot of players returning from last year and we’re excited to get back to work,” said varsity girls water polo coach Kelsey Houlshouser. In the past few years, the Bears have been a very young group, but with several seniors leading the charge, they are in good shape to win a Peninsula Athletic League (PAL) title.
The Bears believe that this is the year to win a championship. Senior captains Kyra Sheeper and Annabel Paris, along with goalie Lauren McGinnis, Marissa Shepard and Kate Denend are the team’s key leaders.
The Bears just suffered a difficult blow to their title chances because of an early season loss to Castilleja. Holshouser believes that her players will perform differently when they face their rival again. “We’re looking forward to making adjustments before we see them again mid-October.”
After losing only one senior last year, the Bears have an added level of experience, as many of the varsity players will be coming back for another season. Unlike many of the other teams that M-A faces in the PAL, the girls water polo team will be competing against some private schools, including Castilleja and Menlo.
Holshouser is pleased that she does not have to rely on certain players for every game. Everyone plays and fulfills her designated role. “We spread out the duties pretty evenly across the group. People tend to step up in the moments in which we need them to do so.”
Menlo, Castilleja and Woodside are the toughest opponents that the Bears will face this year. Holshouser is optimistic about their chances for a PAL championship and a trip to the Central Coast Section (CCS). “We definitely have our eye on being competitive in both PAL and CCS.”
Claire Bozdog and Devin McNerney lead the Bears as captains of the junior varsity team. Holshouser is excited that a large group of freshmen tried out compared to the last couple of years. “We actually have the largest group of freshmen that we’ve seen: 11 girls. We’re excited to see how the group progresses and contributes throughout the year.” If these freshmen can reach their potential before they graduate from M-A, it will be no surprise if the Bears are consistently competing for a title in the coming years.
With an impressive amount of experienced players, this year’s talented team could very well be in the running for a PAL title.