2019-20 GIRL’S WATER POLO SEASON PREVIEW
The Lady Chieftains put in another big off-season to prepare for their 4th season in Division 1, and the impact of that training has already been felt through the first 3 weeks of season. These girls are stronger, faster, tougher, and in better shape than ever before! The Chiefs return 5 starters from last year’s quarter final squad and have made significant improvements through the off-season with the Sunset Water Polo Club and other local clubs. The girl’s competed in over 100 contests together since the end of last season, including earning a gold medal at the Shaver Lake Invite and qualifying for the Championship bracket of the 16 and Unders National Junior Olympics. The expectations are high this year as the girls look to sneak into the Open Division for the first time in school history.
SOMETHING TO PROVE
This year’s team is a young squad comprised of only 2 seniors: Ashlynn Sauerwein and Erin Flynn. Each return for their 4th varsity season, and have alot left to prove as the only remaining members of the 2017 Championship team. Since that season, Sauerwein and Flynn have watched their team fall in back to back quarter finals. But these losses have fueled their desire, and both players are determined to break through this year. Sauerwein, freshly committed to the University of Indiana, brings a hard nosed style of play to the pool. She can beat defenders in a multitude of ways, and is not afraid to body up and get physical with anyone. Flynn is a defensive specialist that excels at making quick decisions to stop plays from developing. But this girl has worked hard to make herself a bigger presence on offense and has become a very reliable pressure passer.
A CLASS OF THEIR OWN
The 2019-20 season features 8 juniors on the varsity roster, each of which have hundreds of games of experience under their belts. Phoebe Currigan returns for her 3rd season as a varsity starter, and has established herself as a very competent facilitator on offense and an absolute lock down player on defense. Kaitlyn Heindl is a second year starter who is a strong and effective center defender – a position which is largely considered the most difficult position in the pool to play. But Heindl’s strength on defense is dwarfed by her ability to find driving lanes on offense and her confidence to score big goals. Fiona Flanagan is also a second year starter returning for her 3rd varsity season. Flanagan has wreaked havoc with her speed through the pre-season, consistently torching defenses and disrupting opposing offenses. Look for Flanagan to put together an All-CIF campaign! Shea Herndon was a big surprise baller last season, starting the season on JV and ending it as a leading goal scorer on varsity. Herndon has an explosive shot and relies on her superior athleticism and conditioning to punish teams on both sides of the pool. Olivia Butters is on varsity for the 3rd season and will be heavily relied on for big minutes down the line. Butters has significantly improved her speed and conditioning, and has added a deadly hard shot to her shooting arsenal. Allison Cunningham is new to the varsity roster this season but has already made her presence known. Cunningham is a work horse who will grind every second she’s in the water, and has made some big plays in each pre-season contest to inspire confidence from her teammates. Sophie Stratton is the 7th Junior on the varsity roster, and coming from a long time polo family has given her great instincts about the game that she looks to utilize this season! Lilly Fulton is a talented first year varsity starter in the cage who has all the makings of another great Clairemont goaltender! Fulton is extremely athletic and has amazing anticipation, which makes her a tremendous addition to the 2019-20 squad.
THE YOUNG GUNS
The 2019-20 squad includes 2 young talents that have added some much needed power to the overall roster. Sophomore Noel Toson enters her first varsity season with the hardest shot on the team and has the ability to make big prolific goals from center. Freshmen Calli Brown comes in with 5 years of prior experience and has already proven to have an excellent sense of the game. Brown has used her great decision making skills and her outstanding shooting ability to earn a starting spot on the varsity team as a freshmen.
WHAT TO WATCH
The Lady Chieftains face their most difficult season to date, with games scheduled against several top teams in California. The big non-league games include traveling to #3 La Jolla High on December 6th, traveling to #4 ranked (in Southern Section D4) Edison on January 3rd, traveling to #4 Cathedral Catholic on January 11th, and hosting the defending national champions from New Zealand, St. Cuthberts, on January 20th. The Chiefs will be competing in 2 tournaments this season: the Villa Park Classic and the America’s Finest City Invite, both of which are ranked in the top 5 for tournaments in the nation.
The Lady Chiefs kick off the season this Thursday night with their home opener against Eastern League rival Point Loma at 6:30pm. COME OUT AND SUPPORT YOUR LADY CHIEFTAINS!!!