// The Acalanes High School women’s water polo team (17-4 overall, 3-2 league) has set their sights high after an exceptional start in league. Heading into Diablo Athletic League (DAL) championships and North Coast Section (NCS) playoffs, the team is ready to continue its winning streak.
The team was victorious in their first league match against Las Lomas (11-5) on Sept. 20. In a two-day tournament on Sept. 23 and 24, the Dons came away with four victories against AMHS (16-9), Marin Academy (21-8), AWHS (10-4), and Menlo School (15-9).
On Sept. 30, the team faced off against Clovis North (15-9). The group experienced their first league loss in a matchup against Campolindo on Oct. 11. On Oct. 18, the Dons matched up against the Mats and came up just short in a close game with a final score of 9-10.
When the Dons faced off against the Mats on Sept. 27, they knew a victory would not come easy. Miramonte’s women’s water polo defeated Acalanes last year in the NCS finals, and the Dons came prepared to take home the victory at this meeting of the two rivals.
“It was just a fantastic execution by the players. Miramonte has kind of a unique style that they play. It’s pretty much different than everybody else, and we had taken the time to kind of talk that through with the girls, how to defend it effectively, how to just stay compact defensively and take away what they wanted to do and they just were spectacular at it,” Head Coach Misha Buchel said.
Preparation was one of the team’s keys to success; their team communication in the water granted them an advantage in the game.
“We were intense, and we communicated really well, and that helped us win,” senior Brooklyn Plomp said.
The team faced new dynamics this year, but their outstanding team spirit and communication allowed them to thrive.
“We’ve been doing well in communicating together since we graduated a lot of seniors last year so it’s a very different team than it was last year so communicating has been really important to succeed,” Plomp said.
The team’s success this season is partly due to their communication in the water. Still, it is also the result of a high water polo knowledge that enables the team to adapt to their opponents quickly.
“We’re a very high IQ team, we’re very, very intelligent in terms of figuring out what the other team is trying to do and how we can adjust to help defend that . . . on the offensive side, we’re just extremely patient,” Buchel said.
After advancing to the NCS finals last year, the team feels hopeful that they can exceed again this year.
“We think we can be the best team out there this year, which means winning the league, winning NCS, and making a state run as well,” Buchel said.