Sharks girls water polo wins 1, loses one

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Team advances to the CIF playoffs.

By Davis Thacker / Special to The Malibu Times

The undefeated Sharks girls’ water polo team met their match last week Friday in a game against the Rio Mesa High School Spartans, losing 5-6, with the Spartan’s winning goal coming in the last 15 seconds of the game.

The Spartan team is highly ranked in Division Three, while the Sharks are currently a Division Six team.

While the loss may have rattled the team, it was a much-needed match to prepare the team for playoff competition.

“The game was very important because we had so little competition in league,” Head Coach Tim Segesman said. “We needed to get back to the level of play that we are going to face in playoffs, as well as work out some of the kinks that we still have.”

Before the Rio Mesa match, the Sharks traveled to Carpinteria High School on Feb. 7 to take on the Warriors, a team they had beaten 14-1 on Jan. 26. The Warriors proved to be no match for the Sharks the second time around, as the girls were to finish their league season with a convincing 16-1 win against the second-place Warriors. The win capped off a third straight undefeated league season in the Tri-Valley League after four straight undefeated league seasons in the Frontier League.

Defense has been the team’s strength all season, with senior goalie Jojo White anchoring a unit that has surrendered few points during the course of the season. With the Sharks’ strength and confidence, the main focus of the team’s improvement has been on the offensive side of the ball.

“We need to work on creating more opportunities on offense,” Segesman said. “Our defense is strong, so we just need to fine tune our offense to the point that we can compete with these other teams.”

With the win against Carpinteria, the Sharks move on to CIF as the number two seed in the Division Six playoffs. Warren High School will be the number one team in the playoff bracket after winning the San Gabriel Valley League. With their seeding, the Sharks received a first-round bye and will use the time to prepare themselves for their upcoming opponents. The Sharks will either face off against Tustin or La Salle in their second round playoffs game, and while the team is looking forward to their ultimate goal of winning CIF, they are wary of getting too far ahead of themselves.

“We just want to take it one game at a time,” Segesman said. “Everyone’s focus has to be on every game and we have to treat each team like they are the team to beat. We just have to make sure that we focus on the finer things and shutting down teams’ strengths.”

One of the main things that Malibu has going for them is their experience. After making the CIF finals two years ago and the semi-finals last year, a number of the players and coaches on the team are prepared to make the next step to achieving the CIF Championship that the program has been craving for a number of years.

“We have the experience to play deeper under pressure and we really want to redeem ourselves,” Segesman said.

The girls begin their playoff run on Thursday.