Getting ‘inside water’ to lead


Nicholas Rosete

Coach Michael Bria demonstrates the concept of “setting a block” to his players to show them how to prevent their opponent from getting a shot off.


At the beginning of the school year, water polo players had no idea what the future would hold. The long-time coach had left, and there was no guarantee of a new coach taking the spot. Uncertainty plagued the players; they worried that the sport they loved would come to an end.

Fortunately for them, after three anxious weeks of waiting, departing coach Marcus Sherman recommended Michael Bria to take over his position. With the new coach previously helping a Big Valley Water Polo-Academy and Delta College team, he is used to intense training.

Junior Amanda Pesetti believes his new techniques will help the girls win league. “He exercises us way more,” Pesetti said. “He gets in the water with us and takes time to thoroughly explain a concept.” When he’s in the water, Bria takes time to thoroughly go over important throwing and blocking techniques. On days when the team works hard, he likes to have fun and race with some of the members of the team.

Because of the long wait, the team suffered a major setback. Every other school in the league was already practicing — this put the team at a huge disadvantage. “We should have started conditioning a week before school started,” said junior Brookelyn Sigle. “And that’s at the latest.”

Having a late start was just one obstacle the team had to overcome. This year, the boys team suffered a major loss of players due to the majority of them graduating. They were left with one returning player, and they are currently building from the ground up.

Sophomore Joseph Mallett said, “Right now we’re learning how to eggbeat (a technique used to stay above water) in the water.” Mallet describes the learning process as fun, but frustrating at times.

Despite the entire boys team being new to high school water polo, Bria believes that they will do great. “I see so much potential with them,” he said. “We’re going to have a very good team.”

For the girls team, the situation is quite the opposite. The team has 14 players, the majority of them being returners. Last year, they had a record of 3-2. This year, the girls team feels as if they have a shot at taking league.

“I know we can do it if we just work hard,” senior Hailey Edwards said. “As cliche as it sounds, we just need to believe in ourselves.” If the team doesn’t win league, they hope to at least win against their longtime rivals on the McNair team.

“Last year we came so close to beating them, we only lost by one point,” said senior Malia Christiano. “This year, since we have so many players and experience, we’ll surely win.”