Gunn Titans defeat Paly girls’ varsity water polo in first league game

Chloe Fishman, Author

Vikings and Titans sprint toward the ball at the top of the period to gain possession. The Paly team needed the advantage, because the Titans were in the lead (9-0). Photo by Chloe Fishman.
Vikings and Titans sprint toward the ball at the top of the period to gain possession. The Paly team needed the advantage, because the Titans were in the lead (9-0). Photo by Chloe Fishman.

The Palo Alto Vikings girls’ varsity water polo team lost to the Gunn Titans (13-1) in their first league game of the season.

Gunn fired  shots early on to earn a solid lead in the first six minutes of the game, 6-0. Every time the ball was turned over to the Titans, they quickly attacked the Paly goal.

Gunn goalie junior Sam Acker and Paly goalie and captain Hannah Bundy were working hard with multiple saves each period. Both were often yelling strategic direction to their teammates from inside the goal.

“Our team is really young,” Bundy, a senior, said after the game. “This is my third day in goal. … We just gotta keep up the confidence and positivity.”

At the start of the third period, the clock did not start on time, so the players lined back up at their respective goal lines. This delay allowed Gunn a second chance to win the sprint to the ball and make a breakaway run for the goal, flanked by two Paly players. The Paly defense got too aggressive, and the referees allowed Gunn a penalty shot. This shot was successful, bringing the Titans to a lead, 10-0.

When things got down to the nitty gritty in the last period, Paly sophomore Katie Francis searched for the ball and yelled, “I’m being triple-teamed.”  Gunn intercepted a pass to gain possession.

Only one ball slipped past Acker during the game, a shot in the bottom of the third period by freshman Izzy Kelley, which brought the score up to 10-1.

The Titans scored three more goals in the fourth period, ending the game at 13-1.

Acker shared her thoughts on her team’s playing:

“It felt really good [to win],” Acker said. “We all came together. It’s Paly, the cross-town rival, so we always wanna win and it was really exciting to see us be able to form a cohesive team. … I was really happy with it.”

Paly took time on offense to pass around the ball to at least three teammates each run.

“We have good athletes on this team,” Paly Head Coach Danny Dye said. “I know that as the season goes on and progresses they’re gonna get better.”

The Vikings hope to bring in a win at the next game.

“We recognize things we need to work on,” Dye said. “It’s just playing more games and getting that experience of the team working together. … I’m optimistic about this team. I think it’s a fantastic group of girls.”

Paly’s next game is on Sept. 19 at 4:45 at Homestead High School.