Foothill Technology High School

Girls’ water polo obliterates Fillmore, 14-0, at third home game

As the sun seeped through the clouds over the windy Ventura Aquatics Center, the varsity girls’ water polo team competed against Fillmore High School at their third home game of the season. The Dragons defeated Fillmore with a final score of 14-0.

Sophomore Aariana Saunders evades a [opposing team] player during the Foothill girl's water polo game Wednesday night. Credit: Grace Carey/The Foothill Dragon Press

As the sun seeped through the clouds over the windy Ventura Aquatics Center, the varsity girls’ water polo team competed against Fillmore High School at their third home game of the season. The Dragons defeated Fillmore, 14-0.

Junior Lezly Plahn avoids a Fillmore player's block during the girls' game Wednesday evening. Credit: Grace Carey/The Foothill Dragon Press

Within the first eight seconds of the first quarter, sophomore Jaina Malach scored the first goal of the game. Less than thirty seconds later, junior Lezly Plahn scored the second goal, with six minutes and 14 seconds left in the seven-minute quarter.

Foothill’s defense prevented Fillmore from attempting to score, turning the ball over into the Dragons’ hands. Plahn scored the third goal of the game one minute later, followed by Malach, who scored three more times and Plahn once again.

As Foothill controlled the ball at the start of the second quarter, neither team scored until sophomore Serefina McClain made a goal with 3:34 left. Thorpe scored Foothill’s ninth goal of the game two minutes later and Fillmore made their final attempt to score in the last five seconds of the first half.

During the third quarter, Thorpe substituted for sophomore Taylor Wreesman as goalie, who was put into the field. Coach Samantha Marinaro thought was Wreesman playing outside the goal was “an exciting moment.”

After McClain and Plahn each scored once more, Wreesman made her first goal in the game with 1:04 left on the clock. McClain was ejected, or taken out of the game temporarily for playing too roughly, in the last 15 seconds.

To Marinaro, another one of the most interesting parts of the game was when Plahn “stole the ball with her foot.”

“She flipped the ball up and stole it with her foot, so it’s always fun when you see something exciting like that happen,” she said. “At that point, anything goes when it’s a game like this.”

In the final quarter of the game, Thorpe scored Foothill’s 13th goal, followed by Plahn attempting to score but being blocked by Fillmore twice. As junior Meagan McKillican protected the goal, sophomore Aariana Saunders was ejected from the game, followed by a Fillmore player also being ejected.

As Plahn became goalie in the last minute, sophomore Lily Armstrong scored Foothill’s last goal of the game, ending it with a final score of 14-0.

Despite the “lower” competition, Wreesman claimed, the team was more focused on the basics of water polo.

“We focused on fundamentals: passing, throwing, not trying to get the score up to the most that we could,” she said.

Marinaro believed that Foothill, “given their circumstances, […] played pretty well.”

“We’ve had our ups and downs,” she said. “Today allowed us to really relax and enjoy the sport and just have fun, be a team.”

Sophomore Lily Armstrong blocks a Fillmore player. Credit: Grace Carey/The Foothill Dragon Press

Wreesman believed the most exciting part of the game was not winning or executing “exciting” plays, but watching her other teammates score.

“I think [all plays] are exciting in their own individual way. But when the people who don’t really score that often, it’s really exciting to see them score and see the smile on their face,” she said.

Boys’ water polo Coach David Wallace, who attended the game to support Foothill, was “impressed” by the opposing team.

“I was really impressed with Fillmore,” he said. “They played fundamentally sound and did a nice job.”

According to Wallace, he noticed how the game “flowed easy” for the Dragons because of their “patience” with Fillmore.

“They were very patient. The game flowed easy for them because of the competition, and they were very patient,” he said. “I think that is a good sign.”

Thorpe thinks that Foothill needs to improve on communicating in the water and functioning as a “unit,” while allowing more players to score.

“We need to work better in the water as a unit; more as a team. We need to pass around more and not just have a few people doing it,” she said. “We need to ‘spread the wealth.’”

Marinaro also noticed how the girls need to “release their emotions” before playing water polo, especially during “harder games” where they “psych themselves out” and “second guess themselves.”

“If the score goes down and they start to get angry, they are playing very [emotionally],” she said. “It is an emotional game but they have to set their emotions aside and play the game they know how to play without any emotions in it […] They need to trust that their skills are there.”



Thorpe, Wreesman and Marinaro all look forward to “see how far [the team] can go,” and possibly even making it to the Division VII California Interscholastic Federation (CIF) Championship Final Game like last year.

The most important goal for Wreesman as the rest of the season unfolds is to continue “bonding with [the] team” and helping each other.

“My main goal is to try to be the best I can be and help my team be the best they can be,” she said.

Background Photo Credit: Grace Carey/The Foothill Dragon Press

–Joshua Modglin