Scots sunk by Tigers in overtime thriller

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Davinder Josephson

Carlmont shoots a powerful shot at the net during their hard-fought overtime loss.

Looking to rebound from a disappointing record this year, the varsity girls water polo team sought to avenge their previous loss against the Notre Dame Tigers.

The Scots narrowly missed out on a much-anticipated win on Oct. 14, resulting in a 10-9 overtime defeat in a physically draining, evenly-matched game.

“I think on defense it was definitely a struggle, and we had to adapt,” said Molly McNinch, Carlmont’s coach. “They had some faster players, and they’re going to get down faster, so we had to race them.”

Other factors working against the team this season have included a variety of injuries and the level of experience on the Scots’ side, contributing to their now 9-1 record.

“This season has honestly been tough just because we’ve had a lot of players out with concussions,” Carlmont senior Liv Martins said. “Something else that has set us back is that we only have one club player. The rest of the team either comes from swim or has only been in the water polo program at Carlmont.”

After dominating the first half with both situational awareness and strong blocking, the Scots were leading 7-4 going into halftime. However, in the third quarter, the Tigers were able to hold the Scots’ offense dormant, tightening the score to 7-6.

“We struggled with staying focused. I think that sometimes when we get a goal scored on us, we tend to break down and then lose sight of the game,” Martins said.

In the fourth quarter, Notre Dame managed to edge ahead 9-8 before the Scots tied the game to force overtime. In the extra periods, the Tigers were able to throw a lob into the net, sealing the victory and ending the incredibly physical match.

“Notre Dame was playing really, really tough, and they were holding a lot. It was getting nasty towards the end,” McNinch said.

Scots player Maile Firenze prepares to lob the ball to her teammate (Davinder Josephson).

For the opposing side, the game proved to be an energizing win.

“I think that all of the Peninsula Athletic League(PAL) games are super important, and they’re really difficult to win, especially when the league we play in has so many good teams,” Notre Dame coach Mike Marques said.

One consistent performance throughout the match was that of Jessica Conley, one of Carlmont’s most experienced players. Scoring six goals, she led the Scots in scoring and continued to play a key role for the team.

“Jess has been playing water polo for years, and one of the things that she contributes is she brings a level of leadership,” McNinch said. “One of her biggest strengths she brings to us is she has got a great arm and knows how to get into the 2-meter position.”

Looking ahead to the rest of the season, the Scots have high hopes for improvement, including adjusting their tactics based on their upcoming opponents.

“We play Aragon next, and they are super fast. One of the things we will be working on is dropping back, driving down fast, and moving the ball closer to the goal,” McNinch said.