Photo By: Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
Senior Ally Bakos is Los Altos High’s leading scorer.
The Los Altos High girls water polo team is paying the price for being so experienced in 2011. The Eagles are enduring growing pains expected from a team that graduated 11 of the 13 players on last season’s Central Coast Section finalist.
“This year has definitely been a rebuilding year for our team, having myself be the only returning starter,” senior Ally Bakos said. “That being said, my expectations from the beginning are that every player gives everything they have each practice and game, and leaves it all in the pool every time. If we manage that, the score will take care of itself.”
While the scores haven’t been as favorable for Los Altos as last year when the team posted a 19-8 record, the Eagles are enjoying some success. They entered this week with a 3-4 mark in the challenging Santa Clara Valley Athletic League De Anza Division.
Los Altos is not only competing with a slew of new players but under a new coach as well. Seth Tasman has replaced Chris Love, who resigned after one season at the helm.
“It’s very hard for athletes to switch coaches, and the girls have adjusted very nicely to our water polo system,” said Tasman, who moved to the area from Florida over the summer.
According to Bakos, Tasman “does an excellent job giving every player the individual help they need, while ultimately helping us improve as a team.”
Bakos and fellow field player Casey Vanneman – the other returnee – share team captain duties. Bakos leads the Eagles in scoring, while junior Vanneman “is our top defender,” Tasman said.
The coach praised sophomore goalie Romy Aboudarham as well. She already has two 20-save games and averages 15 per contest.
“Our team’s greatest strength is our defense,” Tasman said. “Our main priority this year has been defense, and Casey and Romy have been the heart of that.”
Bakos added, “Defense has been our main priority since the beginning of the season. When we’re communicating and playing our game, our defense is nearly untouchable.”
Bakos sees enough potential in the team to believe Los Altos can make a run at the division championship.
“My expectation is for us to be top three in our league,” she said. “I also expect many of the girls to gain a lot of experience as the season goes on.”
A recent win over a Los Gatos team considered a league contender “was a major turning point” for the Eagles, according to Bakos. The visiting Eagles prevailed 8-7.
“During that game everybody was contributing to both defense and offense, and our overall game was much more focused and cohesive,” Bakos said. “This win gave us reassurance that Los Altos water polo can be a force to be reckoned with.”
Tasman called it “the best win this year,” adding that “the girls came out ready to play and it showed in the pool.”
The Eagles are slated to host Los Gatos 6:45 p.m. Thursday.