Greenwich High

Greenwich High girls water polo team tops visiting Sacred Heart Greenwich to improve its record to 2-0

Photo by David Fierro: Greenwich girls water polo captains Bella Schraa and Emma Phillips gather after the Cardinals’ home game against Sacred Heart Greenwich on March 31, 2022.

Thursday’s water polo matchup between Greenwich High School and Sacred Heart Greenwich featured a highly experienced Cardinals team with a winning pedigree and a Tigers squad whose roster is mostly new to the sport.

Experience won out in this game, as the Cardinals built a comfortable first half lead and cruised to its second victory of the season in as many games.

Ellen Norell scored five goals, Bella Schraa tallied four times and Greenwich received goals from nine different players on its way to registering a 16-4 win over visiting Sacred Heart.

Wednesday saw Greenwich (2-0) open its season with a 12-6 triumph against a tough Greenwich Aquatics team.

“Yesterday it was the first game of the season, so we had a little bit of a rough start,” said Schraa, who will be playing water polo at Bucknell University next season. “We did win and that was definitely a good way to start and we learned what we needed to improve on for sure. Today, we got more of our bench players in, which was nice for everyone and some of our bench players got a lot of goals, which I think will build their confidence for the rest of the season.”

Photo by David Fierro: Greenwich’s girls water polo team gathers around coach Paul Constantin during a timeout during a game against visiting Sacred Heart Greenwich on March 31, 2022.

Scoring one goal apiece for Greenwich were Olivia Hopper, Brenna Coffey, Richa Vaid, Bronte Brock, Sophia Ojjeh, Sofie Wang and Emma Gustaffson.

“I’m so impressed with everyone, I think we really played well together,” said GHS senior Emma Phillips, who along with Schraa, serves as a team captain. “There’s some underclassmen that really stepped up. I’m so proud of our players who haven’t been on the team for as many years. They held their own and scored some goals and it just shows how cohesive our team could be.”

The Tigers, who played their season-opener Thursday, were led by two goals from Alexandra Marshall and a goal apiece from Catherine O’Brien and Claire Pittaro.

Catherine O’Brien of Sacred Heart Greenwich, right, looks to pass or shoot during a game on March 31, 2022.

“It was our first game of the season,” said Sacred Heart’s Isabella Adams, who will join the water polo team at Iona College next season. “We definitely have a lot of new girls that have never played water polo before, so I think it was a good experience for them being able to play such a good team and gain some experience at the beginning of the season.”

Norell set the tone for Greenwich, scoring the game’s first three goals, the last of which came with 4:37 remaining in the opening quarter. Schraa, Ojjeh and Wang added first-period tallies for GHS, which jumped out to a 10-0 lead and exhibited good ball movement and stellar defensive play. CJ Weigel made six saves in the winning effort.

Sacred Heart Greenwich gathers around coach Gabriel Maldonado during a timeout against Greenwich.

“This year, we’re doing a very good job of making sure everyone gets a goal, so that was much better than having one girl score eight or nine goals,” Schraa said.

O’Brien scored Sacred Heart’s first goal in the second quarter.

“It was pretty frustrating at first, but it was our first game and this is probably one of the best teams we’re going to play, probably the hardest, so I’m proud of us,” Tigers freshman Annika Wise said. “Even though it was pretty tough, we got through it. I know that people were really nervous, but everyone will be fine.”

“We have a few girls who have never played water polo before, this was their first game,” SHG assistant coach Chris Cunningham added. “We took away a lot of learning from this game.”

The Tigers’ bench consists of only two players.

“I feel like it just brings us closer how small we are,” Adams said. “We train super hard, so it keeps our endurance up to play most of the game.”

Greenwich posted a victory against visiting Sacred Heart Greenwich in water polo action.

Up next for the Cardinals is a home game against Greenwich Academy on April 6 at 4:15 p.m.

“So far, I’m happy with what I’ve seen,” GHS coach Paul Constantin said. “We received goals from almost every player today.”
Said Phillips: “I’m impressed with our energy and mentality going into it. We look at every game as a challenge and opportunity.”

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