With just a few games remaining in its season, Greenwich High School’s girls water polo team is in a very familiar situation: they’re cruising toward another undefeated season.
Today’s 15-8 victory against visiting neighborhood water polo rival Greenwich Aquatics moved the Cardinals’ record to 6-0, but it also had special significance.
The game marked Greenwich’s Senior Day – a time for the team to celebrate its seniors for the dedication, commitment and leadership they have given to the program over the years.
Bella Schraa and Emma Phillips, both senior captains, along with seniors Coco Whittle, Richa Vaid, Daisy Gray and Mikaela Browning were honored on Senior Day.
“The captains are very happy but sad, their journey came to an end at Greenwich High School,” Greenwich coach Paul Constantin said. “They’ve been on the team for four years. We had lots of challenges, but overall, a great squad of seniors they kept together since ninth grade, when they first came here.”
Indeed, co-captains Schraa and Phillips, have enjoyed the multiple roles they have played since they joined the squad as freshmen.
“Personally, this has been one of my favorite parts of high school,” said Schraa, who will continue her water polo career at Bucknell University next season.” I told the girls before this, that I hope I don’t cry. This is one of my highlights of high school. I’m sad that I have to leave, but I’m excited to move forward. But I’ll come back, I have close relationships with all these girls.”
Said Phillips: “For me it is a time of such joy, because for four years we’ve all been together working hard and it means a lot to have come such a long way with the same group. I really feel that the relationships we’ve made on this team are going to last a liftetime. It’s been such a blessing to be a part of this team.”
In today’s 15-8 win against a formidable Greenwich Aquatics team, the Cardinals received four goals from Sofie Wang, three goals from Schraa, three from Ashley Hopper and two tallies from Olivia Hopper.
“This was one of the biggest challenges,” Constantin said. “We played a very young, talented team, so it’s always good to have a challenge from teams.”
Leading 4-3 early in the second quarter, Olivia Hopper scored, then Ellen Norell converted a penalty shot, putting the Cardinals on top, 6-3. Ashley Hopper then scored, upping Greenwich’s advantage to 7-3.
Greenwich was able to maintain the lead from there. Greenwich Aquatics closed to within 11-7 early in the fourth quarter, but the home team scored the game’s final four goals. Greenwich also finished last season with an undefeated record.
CJ Weigel made several saves in goal for the Cardinals, who host Staples tomorrow. The Cardinals will close their season by hosting their own Cardinal Tournament on May 8.
“We’re expecting teams from outside our state at the tournament,” Constantin said. “Today, I think the seniors played very well. Bella, Emma, Richa, Daisy, Coco, Mikaela did an amazing job. CJ, our junior, was very good in the goal. She has recovered from an injury and has regained her confidence.”
Senior Day was enjoyable for the Cardinals, especially the seniors.
“I love Senior Day,” said Schraa, an All-American player. “Some of our best friends are these juniors and we knew they would deliver a nice Senior Day for us and I couldn’t have asked for more.”
“We had photos and so many spectators and I think that was a goal of ours this year, especially with COVID the past two years, is to have more spectators,” Schraa continued. “It was a lot of high energy, everyone was really happy, so that was really nice to see.”
Said Phillips: “It really feels nice to be honored as a senior, after having different roles each year. When you get to this point, it’s really nice to reflect and to have all that time and energy to recognized in a positive way. Bella and I will remember this, along with the other seniors, forever.”