Saluting Our Seniors for Girls Water Polo
February 15, 2023
To many four-year athletes, senior night has become synonymous with celebration — there are fewer events more anticipated than the cumulative, end-of-season party in honor of the team’s dedicated seniors. West High’s Girls’ Water Polo team proved no exception to senior night’s infectious happiness — varsity player Emma Yuguchi (12) described how enjoyable it was “to have a night to celebrate all of us seniors and everything we’ve worked for over the past four years.” Yuguchi emphasized how having such a tight-knit team made the season leading up to the party even more enjoyable. “We’re all just really close together, and I think I’m proud of just how we stuck together as a team,” she explained. Having friends and teammates could lift spirits and allow the team to keep looking forward, even during the lowest of points. “We’ve kept up our spirits together, and having a really close positive team dynamic is something that I was really happy to have this season,” she added.
Having a strong relationship helped the team sweep North High with a crushing 23-3 victory, ending both the night and the last game of the season on the highest note possible. Every senior on the team scored, including Allison Tsai (12), the team’s resident varsity goalie. Yuguchi described Tsai’s shot as a highlight of the game: “It was really fun having all the seniors start off and having her play in the field. It gave her a chance to get out of the goal, and that was super fun.” For fellow senior Felicity Matthews (12), simply having a no-stress attitude was the biggest moment of the game. “You don’t really have to stress out about having the perfect performance or anything like that, and you can have fun with your friends!” Matthews laughed.
Though senior night was a joyful experience, it was also bittersweet. According to Yuguchi, “it’s the people that make the season really fun — from our secret sister gift-giving to carpooling and bus rides, I’ll definitely miss all the little bonding moments on the team,” she recounted. Socializing together made her experience all the more special; however, knowing that it would come to a close was saddening. “I will definitely miss all the people. For me, water polo is my first team sport, so it’s different being in the water and playing with other people as part of a team,” she detailed wistfully. Matthews also stressed how she would miss the relationships built with her teammates through common experiences: “We’ve laughed together, we’ve cried together, we’ve been angry together. We’ve been through a full range of emotions together. It’s hard to cut a bond so close.”
Though the majority of sports are based upon competition, Yuguchi emphasized the importance of enjoying the experience rather than rushing through it. “Focus on having fun with everyone around you in whatever sport and activities you do,” she advised. Matthews also agreed with her statement: “Remember to just have fun! Don’t fight each other, make sure to stay friends.”