By Austin green
Roughly 10 minutes before the start of the Crescenta Valley High School girls’ water polo team’s season opener against visiting Pasadena Muir, the storm clouds overhead broke and the sun peeked through. It proved to be an omen for the Falcons, who soared to a 17-3 victory in their first game in over a year.
“To finally have a game, especially for girls like my seniors who didn’t think they’d get to have a senior season at all, it was awesome,” said CV head coach Amber Dien, whose team played its first match in 13 months.
CV junior Holly Weston finished as the game’s leading scorer with five goals. Fellow junior Kyra Freeman added three goals of her own, as did senior co-captain Rana Mehai.
CVHS showed very little rust out of the gate, with Weston, Freeman, Mehai and the team’s other captain, senior Katie Ward, each scoring a goal in the first quarter.
“The opening minutes of the game were definitely better than I expected them to be,” Dien said.
The fatigue of not having played a game in so long caught up to Dien’s starters later in the game. Still, she is proud of how her team battled through the exhaustion and spread out the workload throughout the contest.
“The girls did an amazing job pushing through,” Dien said. “And we were able to get everyone equal minutes throughout the game — that was essentially my goal, to get everyone equal playing time and an equal opportunity to develop and have that game experience finally.”
Dien is pleased with the way both Freeman and Westin have kept developing after promising sophomore seasons on the varsity team in fall 2019, even with the long layoff from competition. She also had high praise for the leadership of Ward.
“She’s kind of that voice in the pool that helps everyone throughout the game… especially helping out the newer girls, her teammates where this was their first varsity game,” Dien said.
Even though the Falcons have been able to practice sporadically since last October, nothing could have replicated a game experience for them until Thursday.
“Just being able to have that sense of normalcy, that sense of actually saying, ‘Hey, it’s gameday’ and getting to have your warmups and our pregame talks and all of our normal routines,” Dien said.