Still in the CIF pool

GIRLS WATERPOLO The Lady Brahmas faced the Notre Dame Regents in the semifinals yesterday.



Senior Phoebe Tsui looks to score in a 13-3 loss against Claremont.

Christina Liu, Staff Writer

Currently playing their way back into the CIF finals, the Diamond Bar High School girls water polo team have won three straight matches to earn a spot in today’s semifinals.

Entering the playoffs, the team made a risky move by entering CIF with a new offensive lineup in an attempt to avoid getting double teamed by opposing defenders. So far, the move has paid off. The Brahmas will face the Notre Dame Regents in the Chino Hills pool at 5 p.m.

In the opening round of the postseason, the girls traveled to La Palma on Valentine’s Day, where they knocked off the Kennedy Fighting Irish, 10-4. The next day, the Lady Brahmas defended their home pool and beat Fullerton in a close match, 7-6. In the quarterfinals, the team defeated El Segundo in another close match, 5-4.

Finishing third in league, the Lady Brahmas lost their final league match to Claremont, 13-3, but finished the season with a dominant victory over Chino Hills, 15-3. Beating out Glendora and Ayala for third place with a 3-5 league record, the girls automatically clinched a CIF berth.

Before their match against Claremont, the team also traveled to San Diego and gathered more experience prior to the playoffs. Winning three out of their five games, the girls were put into multiple scenarios, from dominating Otay Ranch, 12-5, to beating Eastlake in a tight game, 9-6. Though they did not win the tournament, the girls found value in their five games.

“It was a really great time for team bonding, so I think that really helped us,” senior Ashley Yoo said.

To prepare for CIF, practices were more focused on individual defense so that as a whole, the team would be ready to go against others one on one.

Also, head coach Alexander Matal has been implementing drills focusing on defense, offense and individual play to improve the girls’ fundamentals.

He also led live-time scrimmages and played out different possible scenarios players can face, such as being down a player or being down a few goals in the last few minutes of a match.

“He has done a lot; he has done everything. From the different drills we do, he notices what we need work on, then he will make our practice dedicated to that one thing, making us repeat it over and over,” senior Monique Yim said.  

As a team, the girls are more in-sync in the postseason with stronger communication and better passing.

“We made it to the championships last year, and I think everyone expects us to get back there this year,” Yoo said. “Between the players and the coaches, I know that the team we lost first place to, Santa Ynez, is also in Division 5, so we want to go against them during CIF this year. For sure, we have a better chance this year.”