On September 28, the Berkeley High School (BHS) varsity girls water polo team defeated the Castro Valley High School Trojans 10-8 at the Jacket Pool. While COVID-19 protocol restricted the crowd capacity, the game was sold out and fans were cheering passionately. The match began with each team missing a few opportunities before the scoring was opened by BHS junior Brianna Smyth. Three minutes into the first quarter, senior Maddie Williams scored the team’s second goal. At the start of the second quarter, junior Allison King went one on one against Castro Valley’s goalie and shot the ball past the defender’s outstretched arm. This goal lifted the team as they took a commanding 6-2 lead over the Trojans at the end of the first half.
To start the second half, BHS head coach William Gaebler called a timeout to set his team up for a play. After a few passes, the setup paid off and senior Krithi De Souza scored. Then, about halfway through the third quarter, sophomore Kendal Maddry scored on a breakaway. The quarter ended after Smyth scored her third goal, giving BHS a 9-4 lead.
During the break, Castro Valley coaches Auriel Bill and Patrick Ryken motivated their team and they came out with renewed energy and back-to-back goals. In response, Smyth scored once again with 3 minutes and 45 seconds remaining in the 4th period. Castro Valley had a clear lead during a sprint toward the BHS’s goal, but Smyth caught up and stopped the attack. Smyth’s defense wasn’t enough; a Trojan passed to the left and set up a goal. The Trojans continued to close the gap with one more goal before the game concluded.
With a final score of 10-8, the end result was closer than expected coming into the 4th period. While the game ended with a close score, BHS was in control for most of the game, with great performances from Smyth with 4 goals, King with 2 goals, and Williams with 2 goals.
“[Williams] and [King] had some really beautiful shots,” said Academy of Medicine and Public Service (AMPS) senior Isabel Wu, post game. Wu played in most of the game; although she did not contribute a goal, her passing was instrumental. “I found it difficult to get into the game, but as the match progressed, I feel my performance improved,” Wu said.
Head coach Gaebler talked about what he would like the team to improve upon. “Like most ball sports, you have to throw accurately and have field awareness,” he said. Gaebler also talked about how his team performed compared to his expectations. “They did what they were supposed to do; they won. What they did well, they did very well,” Gaebler said.