West Hills’ Wolfpack is ready for girls’ water polo playoffs

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Making a splash in this season’s league competition was definitely part of the plan. What has surprised the West Hills’ girls’ water polo team is just how big that splash has been. 

Taking on Monte Vista in one of the last games of the season, the Wolfpack showed just how well canines can swim, easily beating the Monarchs, 17-5, on Wednesday, February 10. West Hills is leading the pack in the Grossmont Valley league standings and looks to have a good chance in post-season play.

Making a splash in this season’s league competition was definitely part of the plan. What has surprised the West Hills’ girls’ water polo team is just how big that splash has been. 

Taking on Monte Vista in one of the last games of the season, the Wolfpack showed just how well canines can swim, easily beating the Monarchs, 17-5, on Wednesday, February 10. West Hills is leading the pack in the Grossmont Valley league standings and looks to have a good chance in post-season play.

“Originally, at the beginning of the season we were just hoping to get CIF and get a couple rounds,” said head coach James Searls. “But the way we’re seeded and the way everything else looks, it looks like we’re a good strong run for the playoffs next week.”

This has been an unexpectedly good season for the Wolfpack, he said, because they have such a green bench this year.

“I was expecting a good season but it’s kind of unexpected to be doing as well as we are doing,” said Searls. “I was hoping maybe to win league with this group. We’re young. We have four freshmen and only four seniors.”

But it seems to be a winning combination, as their record has proven so far.

“The energy of the freshmen the down-to-earthiness of the seniors just kind of built a good, strong team,” said Searls. “They’re not selfish. They’re all willing to make an extra pass. They’re all willing to give somebody else the credit or the goals.”

Searls added that it helps that the girls are all such good friends. There is no lack of unity in this Wolfpack.

This is the first year West Hills has really had a lot of success. They are new to the Grossmont Valley league and seem to have taken to the competition nicely.

Freshman Reilly Mock said she the team has meant a lot to her.

“They’re really fun and they encourage me to do things I wouldn’t have done before,” she said. “I love all my teammates.” 

Center defender Fallon Burnworth echoed those sentiments, adding that the winning season has made growing with this team even better.

“It’s really fun because it’s my first year in high school season,” she said. “I didn’t expect us to do so well but after a while I was like, oh, we can really do this.” 

Burnworth plays for a club team as well, and her fangs really come out when the Wolfpack is in deep water. She kept a cool head against the Monarch offense, pushing her way into scoring position and pouncing with effectiveness. 

With playoffs beginning this week, the team is staying focused on their last few games. But team captain Courtney Mahue said this season has been more than just a nice win.

“It’s really great to be around a lot of these freshmen girls and be able to teach them stuff,” said Mahue. “It’s a whole lot of responsibility. Being able to win is great obviously, but being able to be part of a team and learn is great as well.”

Mahue said she thinks this may be her last lap in water polo. She has not decided if she will continue it in college. But playing on a team has been good for her, she said, making her last season one that is bittersweet.

“Being part of a team is really important to me,” she said. “It teaches me hard work and dedication and being really passionate about something and working really hard to towards something. Now I’m just here to teach up these little girls and leave my legacy.”

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