Girls Water Polo scores a spot in CIF


Mitul Kalra

GET OUT OF HERE!: Senior Sarah Buting deflects her opponent’s shot attempt.

Kathy Chun and Hari Sreemaragiri

Breathing heavy, smiling wide and dripping with the exhilaration of victory, the players stepped out of the pool to be greeted by a deafening standing ovation of ecstatic parents and friends.

Northwood Varsity Girls Water Polo won their first Pacific Coast League (PCL) championship in school history. After months of hard work, the team finished 7-5 against Irvine at the Northwood Aquatics Center on Feb. 3.

Northwood was in the lead throughout the entire game, racking up a 6-1 score by the third quarter. Multiple goals were made by captains seniors Hannah Miller and Sarah Buting, along with freshman Valerie Wraith. The victory marked the end of an incredible season full of early morning practices, difficult competition and several adjustments.

“Our biggest challenge was getting used to having new roles on the team,” Miller said. “Many of our seniors graduated last year and we’ve had new players join varsity for their first time.”

Despite having only three seniors and a majority of underclassmen, the team’s incredible season lends tribute to their perseverance. After a 13-1 win against Portola, Northwood entered the final league game with a tremendous drive and emerged victorious as Northwood’s first-ever Girls Water Polo league champions.

With a frenzy of motion and various strategic advances, water polo is a sport that requires utmost communication. This initial hardship was quickly overcome by the team’s strong support system and intensive training by Water Polo Head Coach Kyle Kim-E.

“Something I learned this season as a captain is the importance of communication with our team and our coach,” Buting said. “In previous years, our communication wasn’t as strong but this year, we really created a trusting relationship.”

The team recently won their first-round CIF home game against Capistrano Valley with an impressive score of 8-5. Propelled by campus-wide encouragement, Girls Water Polo aims to ride this unprecedented wave of success into their next game today against Millikan High School.