Water polo season has begun, and the girls team is ready to dive in. On the evening of Wednesday, September 13, the girls water polo team played against Lick Wilmerding High School at home. The Jackets started off strong, with senior Eliza McGlashan scoring a goal within the first minute of the first quarter. This was quickly followed by a goal from senior Reba Gamson-Knight, with an assist from senior Kendall Maddry. Berkeley’s defense managed to block all but two of the opponent’s shots in the first quarter even when the team’s only goalie, Cece Lutz, was taken out for a 30 second penalty. Co-captain and senior Ellie Pett-Ridge Hennessy scored once, and junior Eden Barnes scored twice. The quarter ended with the score at 5-2 with Berkeley in the lead.
For Pett-Ridge Hennessy, being a co-captain means balancing the interests of the team and the coach. She said, “(It’s) making sure that everyone is feeling safe in the water, feeling good in practice, feeling like part of the team and feeling supported by their coaches. So just connecting the team.”
Halfway through the first quarter, almost every player in the water was subbed during a time out. Not only is water polo draining, but it can also get very aggressive. “There’s a lot of stuff that happens under the water that isn’t seen and I think that is different from every other sport because you can see everything when you’re above ground, but in the water, it gets a little bit nastier,” Pett-Ridge Hennessy said.
Lick Wilmerding got possession of the ball at the beginning of the second quarter, but they were not able to score. Berkeley scored five more times before halftime. There were goals from junior Phoebe Jasper-Hwang, Maddry, junior Zoe Glass, and back to back unassisted shots from Barnes, ending the quarter with a score of 10-2, Berkeley in the lead.
Throughout the game, Lutz blocked many of the opponents shots. She has been having a successful season this year, and attributes this to working hard in practice and help from her teammates. “It’s a very teamwork driven sport. It’s a water sport, but unlike swimming, you really have to be friends with your teammates and work together in order to do well.” Lutz said.
She also gave a shout out to Barnes for making many powerful plays. “Eden made a lot of really good steals and we scored off a lot of them,” Lutz said. “So I thought those were good.” She is hopeful that the team can make it to the North Coast Section playoffs this year.
In the third quarter, Lick Wilmerding managed to score twice, but Berkeley’s scoring didn’t slow down. McGlashan scored within the first 20 seconds of the quarter, and through the rest of it there were shots by Gamson-Knight, Barnes, and two goals from Hennessy.
Gamson-Knight is the team’s other co-captain. She also enjoys how much teamwork water polo requires. “There are six people in the pool plus your goalie. So if one of those players is taking shots for themselves or they’re slacking off, it really shows.” Gamson-Knight expressed. She also thinks of water polo as a great emotional outlet. “I honestly think a lot of water polo players are really quiet in their lives. But in the pool, it’s really aggressive and it’s a really good way for quiet girls to get out their anger,” she said.
In the fourth quarter, Berkeley was in the lead, but they still continued to put up a fight. Hennessy scored quickly, but this was followed by another goal from Lick Wilmerding. However, they came back and Hennessy scored again. Later, there was a goal from junior Morgan Ostrer, followed by another from McGlashan. In the last 30 seconds of the game the opponents scored a goal, however the Jackets responded and ended with a bang. With eight seconds left in the game, Gamson-Knight scored to bring the final score to a 20-6 Berkeley win!