All of The562’s water polo coverage for the 2021-22 school year is sponsored by Aqualand. Visit AqualandOfTheFree.com to learn more.
Wilson has unrivaled aquatic history, but the girls’ water polo game on Wednesday night was historic for a different reason.
The Bruins won their first CIF Southern Section playoff game since 2018 by beating Redondo Union in the first round of Division 1.
“We’re hungry for this, we’ve been waiting,” Wilson goalkeeper Zoe Seaboch said. “It’s been four years since we’ve won anything so none of us have experienced that. We wanted to break that trend. We know what we’re capable of doing, so we came out confident and ready.”
Wilson won the Division 3 title in 2018, the first in school history, and that was the first season for head coach Barry O’Dea.
“This is a great start,” O’Dea said. “The girls have been training really well so we’re swimming really well right now. I’m really happy with the speed and how fast we’re playing.”
Wilson’s Maya O’Dea scored five of her game-high six goals in the first half, and also contributed a handful of steals on defense.
“It was my responsibility to do that,” Maya O’Dea said of the hot start. “I feel like that’s my job, not to just score, but to come out and attack the game.”
“Maya is feeling good, and when she’s good she opens (other players) up,” coach O’Dea said.
The Bruins started fast and led 7-0 before Redondo Union scored in the second quarter. Wilson led 10-3 at halftime. O’Dea played his entire bench in the second half.
Wilson’s Jermonie Billingsly scored a hat trick while Vivian Bailey chipped in two goals.
Seaboch had five saves in three quarters, and she also contributed to the offense with three consecutive assists on long counter attack passes in the first quarter.
“I’ve been doing it a long time, and my older brother is always criticizing me at home too,” Seaboch said. Her brother, Seth, also played goalie for Wilson.
“That has been her strength since her freshman year,” coach O’Dea said of her passing ability. “I’m still really bummed we didn’t get to play in the playoffs last year because she would’ve really stuck out as a junior. She’s our backbone. She’s kept us in so many games this year.”
Wilson (16-8) will go on the road at ML King for the second round on Saturday.
“(Coach O’Dea) always tells us to play loose so that’s the mentality we have to keep,” Seaboch said.
“We have to keep our positive attitude and keep lifting each other up,” Maya O’Dea said. “Playing our game and just working together will keep our momentum going.”