TW Water Polo Girls Stampede Towards a New Standard

The beginning of November usually marks the end of high schools’ fall athletic season. For seniors, it’s a somber time as they conclude their last practices and games. For others, such as Girls Water Polo team, it’s the beginning of something new.

The young program will be losing four seniors this year: Alysha Trujillo, Surina Moniz-Costa, Maggey Rodriguez, and Chloe Cushing.

But that’s not stopping the rest of their team. After a long stretch of losing seasons, with two new coaches, a full roster, and new standards, the juniors, sophomores, and freshman left are looking forward to having a winning season next year.

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Kiley Hays (wing) swims the ball past her Exeter defense.

In an interview with the Stampede, sophomore Kiley Hays (wing), said what she was looking forward to most next year was winning. “What was wasn’t a very good team. We weren’t all together, and this year, I feel like we’re together – we want it – and we want to be out there.”

Sophomore Metzli Velazquez (whole set) said a lot of it had to do with the new coaching. “Our new coach [has] started doing new things, for improvement, and…just certain things that she realized like, ‘Okay, that doesn’t work.’ and she would be [like] ‘Let me do this to help you guys get better.’ So I think that was a big change.”

Room 311’s English teacher, Jenna McGuire, worked as JV coach last year for the Mustang

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Andrea Casillas (wing) rises to shoot.
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Jewels Castaneda (flat) passes after being pressured by Exeter’s defense.

water polo team, and this year took on the major role of head coach when her predecessor stepped out unexpectedly a week into preseason. One of her main goals for this team (and her future program) was to become united, something she achieved by issuing each of her varsity players game day polos in order to represent themselves and their sport.

“It make[s] us look more like a team,” junior Allyson McCall (whole guard) commented. “I already see improvement in everyone too… I’m sure there’s going to be more.”

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Hadyn Aguiar (wing) defends, running Mission Oak’s shot clock.

Coach McGuire’s influence has already made an impact on her team. Last year, the girls’ worst loss was against the Bakersfield team Garces Memorial, 23-8. Though still a loss against Garces this year, the varsity girls’ development was crystal clear when they closed the gap and made it a two point game: 7-5.

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Taylor Lorenzo (whole guard) swipes the ball away from her Exeter whole set.

Coach McGuire and JV coach Bree Hunt hope to improve upon their girls’ swimming skills this spring, making a requirement for any would-be returners to compete on the swim team under Coach Hashimoto, and spending more time in the weight room.

Tulare Western’s girls water polo has made major
improvements this year with the grand hope of being the best team in Tulare and having a competitive team next year – one that could go on to EYL for a moment worthy of dramatic sports movies.

The Lady Mustangs’ last game of the season is home tomorrow, against their cross-town rivals from the Tulare Union Tribe. JV will play at 4:30 and varsity at 5:30.

“Guys, go watch water polo games. They’re lit! They’re so fun!” Senior Maggey Rodriguez (wing) says. And I totally agree.

– Chloe Cushing, Senior (whole set)


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