Girls water polo wins regional title


photo by Bailey C. Fisher

Strong flat Emma Steinbronn shoots against Winter Springs. The team won the first district and regional titles in school history.

There were five seconds left in the regional finals match on Saturday, April 1, and Boone was up, 13-12, until strong flat Emma Steinebronn was able to score a clutch goal to send the game to overtime.

“It means a lot to me to get this far and I am really proud of the girls because this is something that I have been working for my entire high school career,” Steinebronn said.

Neither team scored in either overtime, and so the game went to a shootout to determine the victor. The team scored in the first shootout, so it was up to goalie Jasmine Morris to save the goal. Morris knew that this save would give her team their first ever regional title; and as the shootout began, Morris saved the goal. The girls won, 14-13, and advanced to the first state playoff appearance in school history.

“I could not believe it happened,” Morris said. “I don’t even remember it; I just remember that I blocked the ball, I started crying instantly and I got out and ran to my coach. It was incredible.”

Boone had defeated the girls earlier in the season so winning the rematch was a defining moment for this team. After the girls won the regional title, they then advanced to states where they lost to Hialeah 22-7. The girls were able to win all of their district preliminary matches and advanced to the finals where they defeated Lake Howell, 18-2, on Wednesday, March 29 to win their first district championship.

During the regular season, the team won three out of their first four games and proceeded to go on a three game win streak midway through the season. The team finished with an 8-5 record.

“[Winning districts] feels great because it is something that the girls have never been able to accomplish,” Morris said. “We finally came together as a team to make it work.”

According to the team, they had to overcome inexperience and occasional arguments. However, the team started to see things click once they started winning more. After the Lake Nona tournament on Friday, Feb 17 and Saturday, Feb 18, the new players started to ask questions and make more of an effort to contribute to the team’s success. The team would go on occasional dinners to help bond.

“We started to work together more in practice, [and] take things seriously,” point Leah Goodwin said. “We also hanged out outside of practice a lot to build that chemistry.”

The team was very proud of their performance this season and how they all came together in order to take the program farther than it has ever been. The team was able to come together, and went farther than any of them expected.

“The overall key to success has been working on communication because it is a team sport, not an individual sport,” Steinebronn said. “Letting others know when to pick up people on defense and when to pass it to the right person to shoot.”

A highlight for the season was Wednesday, March 1, when the team defeated cross-town rival Oviedo. Three girls had two or more goals and, according to the team, it showed them how good they really are and how much they can accomplish if they can work together.

“We have begun to work together as a team,” Goodwin said. “It didn’t show at first but it started to show through us winning more games.”

This season was full of ups and downs for the girls, but they were still able to find a way to make school history. Advancing to states was far beyond expectations at the beginning of the season, but the girls did not let that hold them back. The team will look to continue the success next season, and hopefully go farther in the state tournament.

“As the season progressed, we started to form into a team that worked really well together,” Steinebronn said. “Something clicked with us, and now we are playing more as a team, so we have improved a lot through communication, conditioning and just overall knowing the game.”