Girls’ water polo finishes season in CCS semifinals

Sam Lee and Ethan Kao

The Palo Alto High School girls’ water polo team ends a strong season with a loss Photo by Chirag Akella.
Sophomore Sabrina Hall looks to take a shot as the Vikings beat Gunn by a final score of 6-5 during the regular season. The Palo Alto High School girls’ water polo team ended a strong season with a loss against Leland High School in the Central Coast Section semifinals. Photo by Chirag Akella.

The Palo Alto High School girls’ water polo team (16-13, 7-5) concluded its season with a 12-5 loss to Leland High School (15-8, 4-o) in the Central Coast Section semifinals on Nov. 18.

Although the Vikings’ season ended one game shy from reaching the CCS finals, the players maintained a positive attitude, said junior Joanna Falla.

Senior Gigi Rojahn, voted player of the year by her teammates, was pleased with the team’s playoff performance on her final season with the team.

“I’m really proud of how far our team went,” Rojahn said. “One of our goals was to make it further than last year, and we accomplished that goal. Of course we wanted to be in the CCS finals, and I think we could have made it, but we’re still very happy with how far we went this season.”

Additionally, Rojahn says she feels a sense of unity between the seniors on the team developed throughout the season.

“A majority of the seniors on the team have been playing together for a while and it was nice for us to close up our four years together with a successful season,” Rojahn said. “I felt like we really stepped into different leadership positions and I’m really proud of how far we’ve come.”

Even though the team will be losing several seniors who played crucial roles on the team, including Gigi Rojahn, Katie Francis, Caitlin Giffen, Claire Drebin and Alina Drebin, players are optimistic for a strong year in 2016.

“Five key players this year were seniors, so I think it might be tough on the team adjusting,” Rojahn said. “However, we did adjust well this year after graduating two main players, so I think if they work hard and focus on playing as a team, the team will be successful.”

Junior Haley Chalmers, who will step up as a key player next year as a senior, expressed a similar mindset and touched on improvements the team can make during the offseason.

“Since we are losing five of our strongest players, our team needs to be putting in extra work in the offseason to prepare for next season,” Chalmers said. “I think our hardest adjustment will be finding new leaders to help us play as a team, but once we do I know things will be good. The main thing I think we need to improve on is our confidence and knowledge in the game.”