Roseville water polo teams are in reload mode

By: Kayla Nix
-A +A
Water polo is one high school sport that is inconsistent at times when it comes to participants. Some students don’t decide to start playing until their junior year, and teams sometimes end up graduating 10 seniors a season. That’s the case for some local squads this season, including the Granite Bay girls team. Granite Bay graduated eight seniors and is trying to click as a new squad. “It’s definitely a new dynamic, and we’re figuring out how to work with each other being a new core group,” coach Sarah Kovach said of her team, which lost its opener to Del Oro 9-7 on Tuesday and played Rocklin on Thursday. “Once we click, we should have a pretty successful season.” Her squad won the Sierra Foothill League title last season and finished second in the Sac-Joaquin Section Division II playoffs. The Grizzlies boast a triple threat of twins Alison and Jessica Hamby and Amanda Wirth leading the team. On the boys side, Granite Bay only lost three seniors. “We’re bringing back a fairly strong squad of players,” coach John MacLeane said. “This is probably the fastest team I’ve coached.” The Grizzlies won the SFL and Division II section championships last season. Roseville finished fifth in the SFL and looks to improve with a big squad of 18, 10 of whom are seniors. “We’ve changed our defense,” coach Brad Molina said. “We’re playing a much stronger pressing defense to try to create turnovers and create our offense from our defense.” Molina said goalie Andrew Sapp will be a key. Sapp has 119 saves in eight games as the Tigers are off to a 5-3 start. Along with a good defense, Roseville has offensive standouts in Brandon Bridges (team highs with 28 goals and 15 steals through eight games), Tyler Roach (18 goals and six steals) and Brandon Fattis (14 goals). Oakmont faces new opponents this season in the Capital Valley Conference. “Now we’ll have a fighting chance to try and win a league championship instead of in the SFL trying to win second,” said coach Mark Plank, who’s in his seventh season. Oakmont will continue to play SFL teams in nonconference games, including Roseville and Woodcreek. Captains Taylor Nordell and Drew Wixon will be the team’s 1-2 punch, Plank said. Oakmont (4-1, 1-0 CVC) is struggling with ineligibility but hopes to compete until his full squad can get into the pool.