Falcons swamp Gators in late game victory


Jackson Gaunt

Falcons and Gators fight for possession of the ball during the first quarter. (Jackson Gaunt)

On Monday, Sept. 12, girls varsity Water Polo faced off against the Castilleja High School Gators at AWHS. Despite incredible offense from the Gators, the AWHS Falcons managed to capture their fourth win, keeping their nearly undefeated season intact. 

The Gators dominated the first quarter, as Sydney Lowell had three early goals. Regardless of late goals scored by junior Ingrid Wahlstrom and sophomore Avery Hinkelman, the Gators had an early lead with a score of 3-2. 

The second quarter was less action packed, but Sydney made another splash with an incredible fourth goal. Senior Dunara Senagheera and junior Loretta Hovey were able to score two goals to tie the Gators at 4-4.

At halftime,Falcons head water polo coach Mathew Swanson made several defensive adjustments. According to Loretta, they double teamed Gators top scorer, Sydney. 

“Our coach practically said… double team her, make sure she doesn’t shoot the ball. And that’s what we did.” Said Loretta 

This proved to be a key move. The double team shut Sydney down, preventing her from scoring for the remainder of the game. 

“We kind of just analyzed their key players and how they move, and we just adjusted [our strategy],” Dunara said.

Sophomore Avery Hinkleman scores her second goal against the Castilleja Gators.

In the third quarter, junior Isobel Samliham scored her first goal, while Avery netted her second. In addition to these two goals, the Gators’ top scorer, Sydney, was ejected from the game after committing her third foul. Despite the ejection, the Gators managed to score two more goals, keeping the game deadlocked in a fierce 6-6 tie. 

After Loretta scored at the beginning of the fourth quarter, the Gators responded with a goal of their own. Following an assist from Dunara, Avery scored her third goal to give the Falcons a one point lead. The Gators tallied their eighth and final goal of the game seconds after that. 

However, the Falcons fought back. With goals from Avery and Loretta, and a strong defensive showing, the Falcons were able to pull off an exhilarating 10-8 victory.

“Well, it’s my first game coaching the girls varsity,” Swanson said. “So it was nice to get an early win. It was a good challenge. That was a good team. We just pretty much kept swimming. That was the main thing.”

The Falcons will open divisional play by facing the San Rafael Bulldogs at home, Wednesday, Sept. 14. It will be the team’s second home game coming off of a late win. 

“I think we will do better for sure. …I bet Swany is gonna make us practice on things that we are struggling on and pinpoint what we need to focus on. So I think we’ll definitely do better in our next game for sure,” Dunara said.

The Falcons’ varsity girls water polo team hopes to continue their strong season.