Oakville fights for the first-ever water polo state championship

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Photo by the Mehlville School District

Oakville High School girls water polo.

By Stephen Glover, For the Call

In just their first season of competition, the Oakville girls water polo team reached the state championship game, where they dropped an 18-11 decision to Marquette earlier this month.

Oakville (7-2) is no stranger to girls playing water polo, but in the past they had to play on the boys squad. Tigers head coach and alum Brett Walters explained the significance of the inaugural season.

“I played for Oakville back in 2010, so I’m a proud alumni and just trying to make the program the best that it can be,” Walters said. “Water polo has always been coed since I want to say the 1960s to 1970s. But this was the first year that the girls had their own season and their own state championship.”

Junior Jenna Wolf led the Tigers with a total of eight goals in the loss to Marquette. Wolf was so dominating this season that she also started in every match for the boys team at the two-meter position. Thus it wasn’t surprising to see her awarded the team’s offensive player of the year, as well as taking the 110% Award honors.

“She came out of nowhere and just picked up the game, and we rarely see that kind of success that quickly,” Walters said. “I wanted to spread the awards out, but I couldn’t help but give her the 110% Award because she played all four quarters in every one of the girls games. She was just incredible this year.”

On the defensive end, Oakville’s Lauren Manning took defensive player of the year honors.

“Lauren is one of those players that’s not afraid to scrap and get her hands dirty,” Walters said. “When you play against her, you know that she’s going to make you work for your goals.”

Walters also noted that junior Abby Alton was a leader in and out of the pool at the attacker/driver position.

“Abby is a great defender with an ability to drive and score,” Walters said. “She was voted captain and was a big part of our success this season as well.”

With all players returning for the 2021-22 season, Walters expects to see the Tigers in the championship game once again.

It was really cool to watch them this year,” Walters said. “The confidence that came out of all of that for these girls was just incredible. I feel very confident that it will be difficult for anyone to beat us next year.”