For the first time in Glendora High School history, the girls’ water polo team had the opportunity to compete in the Division IV C.I.F. Finals on Saturday, February 22, in Irvine.
An entire season of intense training and unwavering determination led up to this final game against their highly formidable competition, the La Serna Lancers.
From start to finish, the game was an emotional roller coaster for both players and supporters watching the game. A fluctuating back-and-forth score throughout the entire game led to top-tier gameplay by the athletes, as well as roaring cheers of encouragement from the fans in the stands, which included parents, teachers, family friends, and an entire bleacher section dedicated to the famously supportive Tartan Dog Pound.
Sophomore Hailey Andress was a notable contender throughout the game, contributing an amazing performance of seven goals and two steals. At the end of the first half, Andress helped put the Tartans on top with four goals provided by assists from senior Kirsten Lindner and freshman Rachelle Herrera.
Freshman Liz Ramirez finished off the first-half scoring with 0:03 left in the second quarter, breaking the tie score between the two teams and putting Glendora ahead 6-5 going into halftime.
La Serna met Glendora with an unexpected fury coming out of half time, scoring nearly half of their total goals in the third quarter alone. With 1:42 left in the third, the head coach of the Tartans, Alba Espinar, called a timeout to reevaluate the teams’ strategy after losing their one-point advantage previously earned in the first half. Despite a goal from junior Ellie Travisano with 0:29 left in the third, the Tartans still trailed 11-9 entering the fourth quarter.
After a hard-fought final quarter, with Andress producing two more goals and Herrera contributing another, La Serna held off Glendora’s final flurry with another three goals by the time the game-ending buzzer sounded.
Although the Tartans put up one of their most impressive performances of the season during this historical C.I.F. championship, they ultimately fell to the La Serna Lancers with a close final score of 14-12.
Looking back on the game, senior and team captain Jordyn Lughart shared about the factors that could have contributed toward the Tartan’s defeat. “I think a big factor in [the game’s] result was communication. We knew ahead of time that La Serna had two excellent players and our goal was to contain them as much as possible, but our defensive strategy relied heavily on communicating and sliding to help each other which was difficult in such a huge, loud venue,” explained Lughart in reflection.
The 2019-2020 season for the Glendora girls’ water polo has come to a close, but it has been a season of great accomplishments. The girls won an astounding 29 games this season (23 of which were in a row) and advanced farther in the playoffs than any other girls’ water polo team in GHS history. Previously, the farthest the team had ever gotten were the semi-finals last year.
“In the last three years we have gone from Division VI quarter-finals, to Division V semi-finals, to now the Division IV championship game. We won League for the first time in school history,” says a proud Lughart.
Despite a less than desirable end to the season, the GHS girls’ water polo team has made history this year and cemented themselves as an aggressive presence in not only their league, but all of their C.I.F. competitors in Southern California.