Water polo prepares for season opener March 5-6


Photo by Arisha Hirji

Freshman Phoebe Truong practices her strokes during morning practice. The team practices everyday at the LISD Eastside Aquatic Center from 6:15 a.m. to 8:45 a.m.

The water polo team’s third season will begin with the Hawk Classic Tournament on March 5-6 at the Aquatic Center East. Last year, the season ended after three tournaments as a result of Covid-19. Both boys and girls divisions will compete in the Hawk Classic; each team is guaranteed two games through the weekend. 

“This year, it took a long time for us to come back together as a team, especially over quarantine, because we couldn’t go to the pool and workout, and we couldn’t be together,” junior Kaitlyn Huang said.

Many players are still new to the sport since they did not receive a full season of training. Junior Tyler Davis said catching new players up to speed will be crucial in winning games against other teams in the division.

“We have a lot of stuff we are working on in the pool, especially because a lot of the kids on our team are just getting into it and still learning,” Davis said. “Right now, we are working on filling in the rest of the kids who haven’t been here, like the freshman and sophomores, because last year everything was cut short so we are getting everyone up to par before we compete with some of the better teams in the area.”

Head Coach Donzie Lilly said in preparation for the upcoming tournaments, the team has been learning the basics of water polo, including good legs, good posture in the water and good passing. They also plan to work on shooting and game play in practices as well. 

“How I break up the season is all progressive on what we learned the week before, so a lot of the players are a little behind on where I would like them to be,” Lilly said. “I think they are learning fast and accepting the challenges, but most of the team is new to the sport so it’s just going to [depend] on how well they adapt to learning a new sport in a short time”

The team’s practices began on Feb. 11; however, they lost a week of practice due to the pool heater breaking brought on by power outages from snow and inclimate weather. 

Lilly said after gauging the team’s performance at the first tournament, they will begin to work on offense and defence individually and as a team, as well as counter attacks. The team’s second tournament will be held a week later at the Westside Aquatic Center.

“Once we work on the concepts of the game, I think the team will do a lot better in the second tournament, after they have one tournament under their belt,” Lilly said. 

Lilly said his overall aspiration for the season is to have both teams advance to regionals. The first regional qualifying tournament will be held April 30- May 1. 

“In the past, they have taken the top 12 teams in the north region,” Lilly said. “Last year I think we would have achieved that on the boys team if the season would have continued for the full duration, but it was cut short due to Covid. This year, my goal is to get both the guys and the girls team to the regional tournament.”