Look to water polo future as Rocklin JV girls go undefeated in 2011

Club has to say goodbye to college-bound coach
By: Amanda Calzada Placer Herald Sports Correspondent
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Rocklin High’s junior varsity girls water polo team celebrated their mark in school history, as their season went swimmingly. “I was lucky enough to have a team full of athletes that learned quickly,” said head coach, Kayla Phillips, who said the teammates strengthened their sense of support for each other over the season. The team was the first Rocklin JV girls water polo team to have an undefeated league season, 12-0. The feat was especially remarkable considering over three-fourths of the 20 athletes on the team were new to the sport. Learning the fundamentals of water polo include offensive and defensive strategies and the signature method of treading water with the “eggbeater” kick. Typically, a JV team is roughly an equal mix of returning sophomores and new freshmen. Most high school water polo players do not play the sport prior to high school, but have a strong swimming background. Last year, the JV team went 5-7. Phillips, a 2010 Rocklin graduate, was a decorated aquatic athlete during her days at Rocklin High, where she held a spot on the varsity swim and water polo rosters for all four years. As the only coach for the JV team, she says she liked having the opportunity to give back to a program that created fond high school memories for her. She recommends players come to practice as they would a game. The coach held a campout in her backyard for the team to bond, and she also organized weekly team dinners with the varsity athletes. Athlete Sydney Johnson said Phillips kept the team alive and will be missed next season when she is studying at Arizona State University. The toughest league competition included Nevada Union and rival Del Oro. The Thunder beat Nevada Union twice: 8-6, Sept. 22, and 11-10, Oct. 18. In the home pool, Rocklin exerted a victory over the Loomis Eagles, 8-5, on Sept. 15. Outside the Sierra Foothill League, the team competed in two tournaments: one hosted by Davis and one hosted by Oakridge. The team celebrated the end of the season with a banquet. Tori Adame received “Most Improved” while Maddi Cowley and Kelsey Summers received offensive and defensive MVP awards, respectively. “Thank you team for being the best team I could ever ask for,” said athlete Crystal Fairchild.