Rick LeBeauPhoto by Rick LeBeau
Special to the Light
Going into Thursday’s league matchup with Coronado, the La Jolla girls water polo team was still in search of their identity two-thirds of the way into the season. Looking back, they had started the season reasonably well and believed they should be contending for a CIF championship in February.
Brimming with confidence and sensing they were on the verge of something unprecedented at La Jolla, they met with disappointment in early December in a game against their league rivals, the Islanders in the ‘Nado pool. The loss definitely stung, but the girls made up for it shortly afterward by winning the Irvine Tournament, in which they completely dismantled their opponents from Simi Valley Royal High and then Irvine High in the semis and finals, respectively.
Then winter break intervened and the schedule had a one-month gap between games. League play resumed in rocky fashion with two consecutive losses to Bishop’s — the second one at home and by a large margin. With that drubbing fresh in mind, the Vikings showed up Thursday with a point to prove.
On a beautiful sunny day at the Coggan Aquatic Complex pool, La Jolla came out firing on all cylinders. Victoria Frager opened the scoring for La Jolla, but the game stayed tight for most of the first quarter. Suddenly, though, the floodgates magically opened for the Vikings. Playing a stout defense that led to numerous shut-downs and steals, they broke a 1-1 tie with a run of four goals before the Islanders knew what hit them.
Late in the second quarter, Nado put together back-to-back goals, and you could sense the La Jolla partisans holding their breath. Could Nado really find a way to win this after being dominated for the first 10 minutes of the game? Victoria Frager and Ariel Arcidiacano had the answer: No.
With one critical goal just before half, the Vikings led 6-3 and the fans at poolside exhaled collectively. La Jolla was just as dominant in the second half, and pulled away convincingly for a 12-6 victory. The Viking offensive production was led by Frager with 4 goals, Arcidiacano with 3, and Meagan Moreland with 2.