New Coach Dives into a Challenging Season for Girls’ Water Polo


Photo courtesy of Lisa Treen

Coach John Wright gives his game plan during a game against Western High School. Varsity girls lost to Western 9-2. Photo taken at Valley High School's pool on Jan. 30, 2019.

Alex Bernal

Girl’s water polo has found a new coach, John Wright. 

Wright comes to Godinez Fundamental High School with over 20 years experience and a wealth of knowledge having coached high school, junior college, and club water polo teams.

But the team has a lot of work to do since they’ve missed half the season while the Godinez Fundamental High School athletic department scrambled to find a new coach for the girls’ program.

The water polo team had only two weeks to condition before their first game.

Coming in, Wright said, “This isn’t your typical season because I came in December and I knew that we have to get to work right away. It would have been different if I came in September because we would have had an extra month to practice.”

The team and incoming players have had little time to learn the rules of the game. So far they’ve played five games this season and had tough losses in all five games. The last game was against Garden Grove High School and both varsity and JV lost. Varsity lost 17-3 and JV lost 15-0.

It’s hard because every team is two months ahead of us”

— Jocelyn Molina

Sophomore, Jocelyn Molina, said, “In order to get back into condition we’ve just been swimming laps and during 6th period we work out.”

The team does a lot of swimming, as well as land workouts during 6th period. They also use the cardio room for 30 minutes, two days a week, or run for that period. 

When going against other teams, Molina said, “It’s hard because every team is two months ahead of us which means they are more conditioned and ready. But we still go into the game with our heads high.”

Photo courtesy of Lisa Treen
Sophomore, Jovanna Gazano, during the game between Western High School.

This season there’s a goalie problem since last year’s varsity goalie graduated and the JV goalie quit. There was a vacancy until a couple of JV girls stepped in. Sophomore, Jovanna Gazano, stepped up for goalie after being a JV field player last year.

Gazano was surprised that she was chosen to be the goalie. She said, “during our first game the coach told me to put on a goalie cap and put me out there.” Gazano added, “One of my goals this season is to learn how to egg beat better because I’m new, so it’s important.” So far this year, Gazano is playing solid as the new JV goalie. 

Freshman Stephanie Hidalgo, plays as a varsity member on the team.

Hidalgo said, “It feels really good to be in varsity my freshman year because I get to learn more things from the other varsity girls.” She added, “We’ve been working everyday to get better and both varsity and JV have been helping each other out.” Hidalgo has learned a lot from the other varsity players this year.

Photo courtesy of Lisa Treen
Freshman, Stephanie Hidalgo, playing a nightly game of water polo.


Of course, this season wouldn’t have happened without Coach John Wright. Wright has had lots of experience of coaching water polo. 

As soon as Wright became the coach, the girls went straight to work and practiced throughout winter break.

“Our goal is to do well in the league tournament this week,” said Wright.

January 31 is the final game of the season.