Greenwich Academy

Greenwich High girls water polo team victorious on Senior Day against Greenwich Academy to remain undefeated on the season

Photo by David Fierro: Greenwich High School senior captains CJ Weigel, left and Emma Gustafsson are senior captains of the Greenwich High girls water polo team. They and their senior teammates were honored on Senior Day during a game against Greenwich Academy at Greenwich High School on April 28, 2023.

Like last season, Greenwich High School’s girls water polo team celebrated Senior Day in style and like last season, the Cardinals are undefeated at this point of the spring.

It was another successful Senior Day for Greenwich, which hosted neighborhood water polo rival Greenwich Academy on Friday and posted a decisive 22-5 victory – a win that kept its perfect record intact.

The Cardinals, who also registered victories against Williston-Northampton School and Phillips Andover Academy today, sport a sparkling 9-0 record.

Senior co-captain Emma Gustafsson recorded a game-high seven goals and added two assists to power the Cardinals’ offense against visiting Greenwich Academy.

Photo by David Fierro: Members of the Greenwich High School girls water polo team gather in the pool during a timeout of their game against visiting Greenwich Academy on April 28, 2023. The Cardinals won to stay undefeated.

“It was fun, we played our rivals, which is really fun, because their head coach (Ulmis Iordache) has coached some of us, since we were 10 years old (for Greenwich Aquatics) so it was super fun to be able to play them on our senior day,” said Gustafasson, who will continue her water polo career at the University of Michigan next season. “We played really well.”

Emma’s younger sister Julia Gustafsson, a freshman, tallied three goals and one assist, as did junior Olivia Hopper for the Cardinals, who soared to a 13-3 halftime lead.

Greenwich entered the game with plenty of momentum, after winning a tournament at the United States Naval Academy, recently, earning several victories along the way.

“It’s been the best season yet, definitely,” Greenwich goalie/senior-co-captain CJ Weigel said. “The environment has been so much fun. Being a captain is a leadership role that is challenging and rewarding at the same time. I’ve had a lot of fun helping lead the freshmen and younger players on the team.”

Members of the Greenwich High School girls water polo team cheer after a teammate scored a goal against Greenwich Academy during a match on April 28, 2023, at Greenwich High School.

Weigel played in goal and was also a field player Friday, recording four saves and scoring two goals in the winning effort. Sophomore Sophia Ojjeh notched one goal, one assist and two steals, while freshman Kaleigh Murphy had one goal, two assists and one steal for the Cardinals.

Greenwich also received one goal apiece from senior Ellen Norell, senior Brenna Coffey, Bronte Brock, a senior, freshman Hannah Flakstad and freshman Faith Vinntiner.

Brock reflected on her senior season and the time she’s spent on the Cardinals squad.

“It’s pretty amazing, because to be a part of this team and experience everything is great and I’m really sad that it’s over,” Brock said.

Greenwich High’s Kaleigh Murphy in action during a game against visiting Greenwich Academy.

Greenwich Academy is also having a successful season. The Gators have a record of 6-2, with their victories coming against Sacred Heart Greenwich, Hopkins School, Deerfield Academy, Hamden Hall Country Day School.

Against Greenwich High, Tess Charney and Rory Keller scored two goals apiece to pace Greenwich Academy. Allie Spaulding added one goal for GA against the Cardinals.

“The season is going really well, we’ve seen a lot of improvement throughout the season,” Charney said. “People have been working hard and I’m excited to see what’s to come, because there has been a huge improvement.”

Greenwich Academy and Greenwich High School compete in water polo action at Greenwich High School.

Emma Gustafsson scored the matchup’s first goal with 6:26 remaining in the first quarter. Olivia Hopper scored less than a minute later, then Emma Gustafsson scored consecutive goals, giving the home team a 4-0 lead on GA at the 3:57 mark of the opening quarter.

Goals by Olivia Hopper, Brock and Ojjeh extended the Cards’ advantage to 7-0 early in the second quarter. Greenwich Academy’s first goal came with 5:16 to go in the second period.

“It was definitely a tough game,” Charney said. “Almost all their players play year-round. We tried to put up a fight, I think we did our best. It’s definitely a good game for us, because it gives us more experience for other teams in our division.”

Greenwich Academy visited Greenwich High School in a water polo rivalry game.

Murphy, Julia Gustafsson and two more tallies from Emma Gustaffson gave the Cardinals a commanding 11-1 lead at the 3:09 mark of the second quarter. Greenwich High continued to effectively move the ball and get open looks at the goal thereafter.

For GHS, junior Ashley Hopper posted three assists, freshman Shea Morris had one assist and one steal, freshman Maggie Wilson had one block, freshman Ainsley Sarhbeck had one steal, freshman Lily Norton made a steal, Gigi Peck, a freshman assisted on a goal and Addie Shaw (freshman) registered two assists.

Photo by David Fierro: Greenwich High’s CJ Weigel gets ready in goal during a matchup against Greenwich Academy.

Norah Mendelsohn, a freshman, also played in goal, making two saves and Norell also saw some time in goal for the victors.

During the school’s spring break earlier this month, Greenwich High’s water polo team made a journey to Barcelona, Spain, where they competed in numerous scrimmages against teams of all levels.

“Barcelona was great,” Brock noted. “There was a different style of water polo there, so we learned a lot from that trip. It was a good aspect for our team to learn different styles of water polo, while playing against different teams.”

Greenwich High’s CJ Weigel in goal during a game against Greenwich Academy.

Said Weigel: “Our trip to Barcelona was really great and we learned a lot about water polo in general. It tightened our playing overall, as well as the way we play and how we attack games.”

Coached by Jimmy Ramaley, the Cardinals host Sacred Heart Greenwich, then will hold their annual Cardinal Tournament on Saturday (May 6).

“We had a lot of fun in the pool, but then showed the sportsmanship that we had and teamwork in general,” Norell said of the team’s play on Friday. “Our team is really bonded this year, because we are such a young team. It’s nice to know that we have young talent and this team can go further in the future. It’s really showing in our play that we have a more confident team this year.”

Norell will play water polo at Brown University next season.

Greenwich High School and Greenwich Academy in action in a water polo game at Greenwich High.

Today, Greenwich High beat defending New England Prep School Champions Williston Northampton, 14-5. Emma Gustafsson led the team with six goals, while Ojjeh recorded a hat trick. Julia Gustafsson led the Cards with five steals, Murphy had two goals, as did Olivia Hopper.

Weigl had seven saves in goal and assisted on three goals.
The Cardinals were tied after the first quarter and only up 6-4 at the half, before outscoring the home team 8-1 in the second half. 

In the second game today, the Cardinals defeated Phillips Andover 20-4, receiving 11 different scorers. Murphy had two goals and four assists, Shaw added three goals and two assists and Vintinner had three goals as well. Mendelsohn went the distance in the goal, finishing with nine saves, two assists and two steals. 

“My senior season has been awesome so far,” Emma Gustafsson said. “It’s sad it’s coming to a close.”

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