AWHS Varsity Water Polo dives into their first MCAL win against Marin Academy


Avery Josephs

AWHS sophomore, and boys varsity goalie, Haakon Lacy, leaps out of the water to stop a shot from the opposing team.

Tuesday, Sept 14., AWHS’s Varsity boys and girls Water Polo secured back-to-back wins at the AWHS pool.  Starting off their Marin County Athletic League (MCAL) season strong, the boys beat Marin Academy (MA) 14-10 and the girls beat them 15-8.

The Varsity boys had a slow start, coming in with 3 goals before MA scored their first goal. This resulted in an AWHS lead of 6-3 at the end of the first half. In the third quarter, the boys started to pick up the pace, making 8 additional goals by the end of the game. 

“We were a little sluggish and we were a little tired in the beginning. They put it together in the second half, so we did what we needed to do to win,” said AWHS boys varsity coach Matt “Swanee” Swanson. 

The boys continued to preserve their lead during halftime and throughout the rest of the game. With the end of the game closing in, AWHS boys ended with 14 points and Marin Academy ended with 10, scoring 7 goals in the last half. 

Swanson’s main goal for the team is to win MCALs, the league consisting of the surrounding high schools in Marin County. Winning MCALs can qualify the team for the North Coast Sectional (NCS). 

“I’m really excited, I think we have a really good shot at winning the NCS this year,” said AWHS senior and varsity player, Jake Dixon

Looking to the future, Jake feels that they can move on from the slow start as the team focuses on improving their defense and countering the ball.

Swanson works on the team’s weaknesses while highlighting their strengths. 

“Our strengths are our chemistry and speed. These kids have been playing together for a long time, they’re a very tight unit. We’ve got good chemistry for sure,” Swanson said. 

 The Varsity girls had a bit of a slow start, with Marin Academy scoring the first goal.  AWHS found their way into the lead, ending the first quarter with a score of 4-1. 

After the boys’ games, the girls proceeded to have a similar outcome. The girls went into the game against Marin Academy feeling confident in taking the win. 

“Our team definitely works well together so far, we haven’t played many games together yet, but I am confident in our teamwork abilities,” said Loretta Hovey, sophomore Varsity player. 

Though they didn’t disappoint in the end, it didn’t start off exactly as they had hoped. 

“In the first half we weren’t really communicating to our normal standards,” said girls varsity coach Joey Doyle. 

The game had a bit of a leisurely start, but the girls picked it up in the second half. 

“Half time was a whole different story. We came out, we were talking, and we were on the same page.” Doyle said. “There were a couple breakdowns on defense but overall the girls played substantially better in the second half in comparison to the first half.”

Both teams have made it clear that communication is key. Water polo is a team-oriented sport and requires everyone to work together and constantly support one another. AWHS students can look forward to the approaching boys’ and girls’ Varsity games against Terra Linda, on Monday, Sept. 20 at the AWHS pool.

AWHS varsity player Dunara Senadheera (junior) takes a shot during the game against Marin Academy. (Ila Rees)