BHS water polo showcases defense early in season

The Bainbridge Spartans girls water polo team has begun the season with three wins and a controversial loss to Curtis, extending a nearly 20-year losing streak to the Vikings.

The Spartans lost to Curtis 11-10, but the referee did not count a BHS goal that hit the back of the net and fired back into play.

Bainbridge dominated with an 11-4 victory against Kennedy Catholic and 10-8 victory against Gig Harbor. Ilana Gonzales led with four goals against Kennedy Catholic and Grace Rich led with three goals against Curtis and four against Gig Harbor.

“We want to beat Curtis this year,” Rich said. “We lost by one and that was crazy because Bainbridge girls haven’t beaten them in twenty years, and we are on their tail and getting ready to beat them.”

The Spartans are inching closer because of their top-tier defense.

“Our team defense is amazing,” coach Kristin Gellert said. “They made some switches that take elite mentality. That was a very dynamic, thought-out switch that is cool to see at this point of the season.”

The Spartans most recently showcased their physical defense against Mercer Island March 28, defeating the Islanders 15-2.

“We had good movement and were working on many of our plays to prepare for the bigger games,” Rich said.

The defense has been strong because of goalie Darby O’Hare and defenders like Micah Guy and Maya Geddes.

In addition, Bainbridge had eight players score. Emma Atchison led with four goals, Gonzales scored three, Kleo Passas and Ruthie Screen scored two goals each, and Lilia Manges, Frances Caroll, Evie Atchison and Rich all scored one goal.

“I feel like that’s the Bainbridge way,” Gellert said. “We definitely run a team offense and defense. We don’t look for one person to do everything. They are so supportive and encouraging of each other that they give each other the confidence to take the shots.”

Rich added the offense was able to come from various players because they “weren’t just shooting to shoot. We would think about where the ball should go to move the goalie and get the shot with the highest percentage.”

Although the Spartans have had a great start, much more work must be done before they can stun Curtis and win a state title.

“We will be driving the fitness in April,” Gellert said. “We just need those connections, quick shots and making sure we are all on the same page.”

Emma Atchison leads the Spartans with four goals against Mercer Island.

Emma Atchison leads the Spartans with four goals against Mercer Island.