Girls water polo defeats Los Altos in overtime

Girls varsity water polo defeated Los Altos 12-10 in a league game on Tuesday, Jan. 23.

The first quarter started with tight defense on both sides. Walnut and Los Altos made numerous shot attempts over their opponent’s defenders with most of them hitting the crossbar, but eventually Los Altos scored the first goal. Walnut rebounded, and driver senior Kaitlin Garrett  scored the team’s first goal, tying the game 1-1. During the second quarter, the Mustangs were able to score two more goals, but fell short of the Conquerors’ four goals.

“I think our opponents were on their toes because we are definitely the stronger team this year although they were the stronger ones in previous years. During the game, we were looking around for the best shot and talking to each other pretty well,” Garrett said. “I was kind of nervous, but confident because if we were able to get this far, we could definitely finish the game off strong.”

In the third quarter, the Mustangs scored twice by coordinating passes and creating openings in the Conquerors’ defense. In the fourth quarter, goalkeeper sophomore Katie Whittingham made multiple saves to prevent the Conquerors from gaining a larger lead, letting the Mustangs to tie the game with two goals in the final minute of the half.

“I think [our opponents] came into the game believing it wasn’t going to be a tough matchup, but they started to get flustered when we gave them a challenge,” Whittingham said. “I thought we did pretty good today because we were encouraging each other and helping each other when we made a mistake. I was able to do [well] on defense because my team was constantly pressuring them too.”

Going into overtime with a tie of 8-8, the Mustangs were able to take the lead with another goal. The Conquerors tried to retake the lead, but failed after their goal attempts continuously landed on the crossbar. Garrett was able to seal the game, scoring a goal with 30 seconds remaining.

“In this game, the chlorine was really bad because nobody could see, and we had to rely on our communication over everything. We just had to hope our teammates could direct our shots the right way.” driver junior Roxy Lindy said. “I’m super excited that we beat them today because for the past two years they have been the ones that took the win over us. I feel so proud of my teammates; our whole team has been working very hard, and it’s just finally great to see our hard work pay off.”

By Jacob Khuu, Staff writer
Photo by Jessica Dixon