Girls Water Polo Season Preview


Luke Thieman and Hailey Beck

After a tumultuous 2019 season that ended in disappointment, the Girls Water Polo team looked to improve the culture and performance of the team by appointing junior varsity coach Deke Rowell as the new head varsity coach. The team’s plans for a bright future under Coach Deke Rowell—known to the team as Deke—were unfortunately put on hold when the 2020 season was indefinitely postponed, but with the season set to restart in the spring, the team is energized and ready to make the most of the condensed season. 

Though a head coaching change is normally a difficult process that sees players and coaches adapting to each other, learning new systems, and potentially navigating differing team philosophies, the transition was especially smooth with Coach Deke taking over. And despite not being able to coach games yet, he has been offering support to his players during the pandemic.

“Our new varsity head coach is Deke Rowell, and he used to coach me on JV and would always help out with varsity too,” returning senior and starting goalie Andie Tetzlaff said. “He’s one of the best coaches I’ve ever been able to play for, and he’s been supporting us physically and emotionally throughout the pandemic. So because things haven’t really changed, I’d say we’re all set as a team to get going with our season.” 

Deke becoming the new head coach has energized the team, and the players are confident that they can reach new heights under his leadership.

“Last year there was definitely a lot of stuff going on with coaches that might have messed up the season a bit but I think now with our current varsity coach Deke, we can win a lot more games,” junior Aanya Kumar said.

Though the sidelines will look a little different this year with the coaching change, many key players from last year’s roster are returning. Seniors Hana Erickson and Sophie Kadifa, along with Tetzlaff and 2019 first team all-league player Lulu Gaither (’21) are ready to run it back, and are incredibly excited to do so. 

“I’m just really excited. It’s my last year since I’m a senior and I’d like to have the chance to play,” Tetzlaff said. “Even if it’s shortened and condensed, I’m going to bring the heat.”