Vivian Webb water polo falls short at Los Altos Invitational


Tom Jurczak

The Vivian Webb water polo team flexes in the pool after completing the Hour of Power.

Five days after coming back from Thanksgiving break, the Vivian Webb varsity water polo team struck again in the 7th annual “Holiday Invitational” tournament hosted by Los Altos High School. Within the span of two days, from December 6th to December 7th, the Gauls played a total of five hard-fought games.

Varsity starter Sara Hagiwara (‘20) said, “I think we did pretty well considering the fact that our team is still pretty young or only has second-year players. I think it was good training and practice for us in order to succeed for the actual league in January, especially because we’re playing against really hard teams, it was good training for us.”

The first day of the tournament in Montclair High School started roughly for the Gauls, who lost both games they played that day. The first game against Vista Murrieta High School ended in a 1-16 defeat for the Gauls. 

Vista Murrieta, who became the eventual winners of the tournament, scored three goals within the first 49 seconds of the game and garnered multiple counterattacks, including a four-on-one at one point. The Gauls went without scoring a goal until the end of the 4th quarter when Michelle Munguia (’20) made a late comeback with a solid shot into the far corner. 

The second game against Upland High School also ended in defeat for the Gauls. Upland had a star-studded roster and made many counter-attacks against Webb. However, the Gauls held steady and put in a strong effort to keep the game going, even though score-wise, Upland already had the game under control late into the second quarter. The Gauls managed to score three goals thanks to Sydney Wuu (‘20), Michelle, and a penalty shot from Caitlin Pender (‘20). The Gauls finished off the night with a 3-19 defeat. 

On Saturday, the team traveled back to Montclair High School for three more games of water polo. The first game for the Gauls against Pacifica High School ended in a 4-13 defeat. The Gauls came out a bit flat, which resulted in a slow start to Webb’s offense and some easier shots for Pacifica. However, Caitlin was able to shoot three goals (including a penalty), and Michelle fired one that put the Gauls on the scoreboard despite a lackluster defeat.

Luck finally seemed to be on Webb’s side during the second game of the day, as the Gauls grasped their first, and only tournament victory against Kennedy High School (7-3). Throughout the game, the Webb girls worked hard to shut down Kennedy’s offense, allowing them to plow hard offensively. 

Unfortunately, the last game against host Montclair High School ended in 6-12 defeat for Webb. Montclair had a few really good players who dominated the offensive part of the game and sometimes caused Webb’s defense to collapse. Webb was exceptional offensively as Livia Hughson (’21) found the back of the net early in the first quarter and scored her first varsity goal. In the second quarter, after an exclusion outside the 5-meter for Montclair, Livia struck again and found the goal, surprising everyone including Montclair’s goalie. 

During the last two games, Webb racked up a series of goals, including seven from Caitlin, two each from Michelle and Livia, and one each from Sydney and Sara.

However, despite the streak of losses for the Gauls, they are still high in spirit and looking forward to a strong rest of the season. 

The Gauls finished the tournament in 14th place. The next tournament for the Vivian Webb varsity water polo team is from January 9th to 11th, 2020 at Diamond Bar High School. Stay tuned for further updates!