Lady Rays show improvement in tough OAC matchup

Emily Carson of the Lady Rays thwarts a move to the goal by an OAC swimmer during water polo action earlier this week. - Brian Kelly / Bainbridge Island Review
Emily Carson of the Lady Rays thwarts a move to the goal by an OAC swimmer during water polo action earlier this week.
— image credit: Brian Kelly / Bainbridge Island Review

Small ripples may soon start turning into big waves.

The Lady Rays had one of its best games this week, and if the team’s newest players continue to improve at their present pace, Bainbridge is set to make a splash in girls water polo.

With four games gone in the season, the Lady Rays had their most competitive game of the year against Olympic Aquatic Club on Monday.

Though OAC built an early advantage and escaped with a 10-6 win, Bainbridge battled back and never quit and challenged OAC until the end.

“I thought we played really well,” said Emily Carson, one of the team captains for the Lady Rays. “It was one of our better games. We had really good teamwork today.”

“This game especially showed a lot of growth, a lot of awareness in the pool,” she said.

Though Carson remains the team’s offensive dynamo — she scored four against OAC — others are starting to make their mark.

Amanda Sellman and Evelyn Newman added one goal each for Bainbridge Island.

“I don’t think the score reflected how we really played. There were a lot of attempts on goal,” Carson said.

“We’re definitely seeing rapid improvement.”

Co-captain Julia Griffiths agreed.

Griffiths said scores have been tightening as the Lady Rays have become more competitive this year. The young team is in a rebuilding year, with just six returners out of 14 athletes.

Kimberly MacLeod is also becoming an impact player, despite the tough learning curve that most swimmers face when taking on the sport.

“She is incredible,” Griffiths said. “She just started playing and she’s already really good. She’s naturally talented.”

Coach Drew Keller said the team’s growing success is due in large part to the team captains, Carson and Griffiths.

“My captains have been really solid. They have been setting an impressive example of work ethic,” he said.

Overall, the team has made great strides, Keller said.

More players are getting involved in the play, he said, and that’s been impressive given the even balance of new and veteran athletes. The team has just three seniors, and six on the roster are in the sophomore or freshman class.

“We’ve been making improvements in every game,” Keller said.

“I’m really impressed with the girls who have gotten after it,” he added. “It’s a tough sport to learn.”

The Lady Rays will come back after spring break for a game against Mercer Island on April 16.

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