Western League Water Polo season gets underway for La Jolla high school teams


By Rick LeBeau

The Bishop’s School Knights and La Jolla High School Vikings squared off for the first time this season on Jan. 9, 2013 at the Knights’ home pool. The game was the first meeting for the teams since Bishop’s defeated the Vikings in last year’s CIF Final. Both teams feature most of the same players that got them to the championship match each of the last two years.

The Knights are led by Stanford-bound senior Jessie Webster, a highly coveted field player with the strength, speed and toughness to play any position. Webster has several veteran teammates returning along with her, including Sheila Garrity and Natalie Chun.

The Vikings are returning almost their entire team from last year’s finals run, including Sarah Young, goalie Lauren Silver, Taylor Bertrand and Heidi Moreland.

The anticipation for the match seemed justified when the teams were tied at one goal apiece after the first quarter. The Knights seemed to find another gear, however, and went on a decisive scoring run in the second and third quarters, leaving La Jolla looking up at a 7-2 deficit entering the final quarter.

Webster put in two more powerful shots to keep Bishop’s ahead comfortably as the Vikings tried to mount a comeback. With a last second score by Moreland, the Vikings were able to pull to within four goals, for a final tally of 9-5, Knights.

Vikings at Coronado

Two days later, the Vikings traveled to Coronado to play another Western League rival. On a chilly evening, the Vikings came out cold, failing to score until midway through the second quarter. By then they were already trailing the Islanders 3-0.

The Vikings managed to clamp down on Coronado’s offense, gradually ratcheting up their offense intensity at the same time. By the middle of the fourth quarter, led by outside goals by Sarah Young, the Vikings appeared to be comfortably in charge, leading 5-3.

Of course, you can never count out the Islanders, even when they aren’t ranked at the top of the standings in the county. As La Jolla attempted to run the clock out, the Islanders were able to grab a couple more goals and tie the game at five apiece with two minutes remaining in regulation time.

Then, inexplicably, the Islanders left Sarah Young open as she worked her way closer to the goal, and she took advantage of that defensive lapse, blasting the ball in the upper left corner of the cage to give La Jolla its final lead, 6-5.

The Vikings were able to make that margin stand up, but not without some last-minute theatrics. Coronado ended the game with a power play (one-player advantage), but only had 4 seconds to implement a play. Their final shot missed the mark, allowing the Vikings to escape with a dramatic 6-5 victory.