Women’s Water Polo Dominates First Round of Playoffs

John Kalil, Managing Editor

   In just under 1600 words the First Book of Samuel chronicles the greatest underdog story ever told. The tale of David overcoming long odds to best Goliath inspired a Michelangelo masterpiece and continues to inspire hope within every underdog. 

   Sometimes, however, it’s just not meant to be. Goliath won this Thursday night at the Heaston Aquatic Center as the undefeated women’s water polo team cruised past a badly outmatched College Park squad by a final score of 20-3. 

   Despite being positioned favorably as the one seed playing the eight seed, senior Brooke Westphal said the Lady Dons don’t look past any opponent. 

   “In our pregame huddle, we knew they were the last seeded team. We also knew that we need to play every game as hard as if we were playing Sacred Heart Prep,” Westphal said, referencing a Central Coast Section rival that came within a razor-thin margin of 11-10 against the Lady Dons in the championship game of the 2019 NorCal Invitational. 

   Acalanes pounced on College Park in the first quarter, scoring early and often and playing stingy perimeter defense, not allowing a single shot to be taken on goal in the first period. 

   “It can be a little slow,” junior goalie Ava Donleavy said. 

   While Donleavy spent much of the first period without strictly defensive work, her rocket arm, and pool vision created a number of easy goals on the counterattack. 

   “In practice, we drill a lot on counterattack and swim sets which are really helpful. Helping each other out on defense allows us to get on the counter,” Donleavy explained. 

   According to Westphal, the game plan for the semifinal tilt next Wednesday night against San Ramon Valley may be more of the same for the Lady Dons team which has not lost a game since the 2017 NCS semifinal match, two years and three days ago. 

   “We can gauge a team by how hard they come out to start. We know that we’re the team to beat, and if we can kick the team in the first five minutes and their confidence goes down, we know for sure we have that game clinched. San Ramon Valley is a team that will get down pretty easily if we can continue to play hard the entire game.”

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