Girls’ water polo: Paly defeated in tense fourth quarter battle

Ryan Wisowaty, Editor-in-Chief

Sophomore Lulu Gaither shoots the ball in the final seconds of the possession. The Palo Alto High School girls’ water polo team lost 8-7 against Mountain View on Tuesday, despite a change in momentum in the second half. “We pulled ourselves together, and we started countering a little bit more … and we just went for it,” sophomore Hana Erickson said. Photo: Ryan Wisowaty

The Palo Alto High School girls’ water polo team is looking forward to a rematch early next month after playing in a tense fourth quarter showdown against the Mountain View Spartans that resulted in an 8-7 defeat for the Vikings on Tuesday.

The Spartans, who had only lost one game prior to Tuesday’s confrontation, benefited from an early lead in the first two quarters, with a score of 5-1 at the start of the third quarter.

The Vikings responded by shutting out the Spartans in the third quarter and closing the gap, setting the stage for a contentious final quarter, with the Vikings down by just one point.

According to Paly coach Doug Stotland, the team focused on defense and opening up opportunities on counter attacks during their third-quarter rally.

“The team just did a great job of executing on that,” Stotland said. “Really good pressing, really high in the lanes, and we were good at fronting the two meter, and they just didn’t have an answer for it.”

The teams will face off again on Oct. 4 at an away game in Mountain View. The Vikings will focus on communicating more and being more confident in the water, according to sophomore Hana Erickson.

“Playing with more confidence is going to be a huge part of this game because we kind of stooped to their level,” Erikson said. “They seemed very calm; they didn’t really seem like they were playing up.”

The next game for the Vikings is an away rivalry game against Gunn High School at 6:45 on Thursday.