The Piedmont High School girls water polo team has been working hard to continue to build the program. This year, a core of five seniors is hoping to lead the Highlanders to success.
“I think this year especially we have a lot of girls who come from a swimming background and how that fundamental ability plays in,” Piedmont coach Sarah Mooney said. “(We were able to) skip the conditioning section of preseason and go right into water polo.”
That experience is a reason to be optimistic that the Highlanders can make the North Coast Section Division 2 playoffs for the first time since 2014.
The five seniors are captains Odessa Dando and Rosie Feldman, along with Annika Nilsson, Macie Gard, and Molly Ashton.
“Odessa has been putting in a lot of work in the offseason,” Mooney said, adding that Dando’s speed and game knowledge are extremely strong.
“Rosie is a contributor getting steals on defense and drawing fouls on offense,” Mooney continued. “She opens up our offense, drawing a lot of attention.”
Nilsson is a leader on defense. Gard will be taking one for the team, in Mooney’s words, splitting time at hole set and a goalkeeper.
Junior Katarina Melian is another returning standout.
“She has also put in a lot of work in the offseason,” Mooney said. “Her shot is phenomenal. And she is really exciting to watch.”
Two freshmen will be in the mix as well. Vivian Burke and Sydney Olson should be immediate contributors.
“We’re excited to see what they’ll bring to the table,” Mooney said.
Piedmont was 4-8 in 2021, but with so much talent back this year, the Highlanders are hoping to improve. And return to the playoffs.
“NCS is always the goal,” Mooney said. “I can’t say until I see us in a real game. I think we have great potential. If we can execute and do what we do best, I feel we have a great opportunity.”