Long Beach Poly Water Polo Wilson

Girls’ Water Polo: Wilson Scores Big Win Over Long Beach Poly

The562’s coverage of water polo & swimming is sponsored by the Aquatic Capital of America Foundation.

The562’s coverage of Long Beach Wilson Athletics is sponsored by Joel Bitonio, Class of 2009.

The562’s coverage of Long Beach Poly athletics in the 2022-23 school year is sponsored by Poly alum Jayon Brown and PlayFair Sports Management.

The562’s coverage of Long Beach Poly athletics in the 2022-23 school year is sponsored by JuJu Smith-Schuster and the JuJu Foundation.

Wilson girls’ water polo had six players with multiple goals in a 22-6 win at rival Long Beach Poly on Wednesday.

Junior Jermonie Billingsley netted a game-high six goals for Wilson. The Bruins scored 15 goals in the first half, and the 22 goals are a season-high for Wilson.

“We were able to get some people into some situations that they wouldn’t normally get into in other big games,” Wilson coach Barry O’Dea said. “So, I was seeing what they can do and how they react being in positions that they don’t normally play. And then also having them find ways to be creative being somewhere else in the pool that they’re unfamiliar with.”

Just 30 seconds into the third quarter, Billingsley scored an impressive three goals within the span of just 90 seconds.

“I just wanted to get on my legs when I shoot and make sure I look at the goal,” Billingsley said. “And also just taking my time and focusing. I feel like it’s really important for me (to take advantage of my opportunities) because my team counts on me to get my shots in the back of the cage.”

Wilson got four goals from Katherine O’Dea and three goals from Hannah Szsulski. Reece Haga, Vivian Bailey and Zoe Grover each scored twice. Gabby Gillot, Maya O’Dea, and Olivia Garcia also scored.

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Poly junior Anna Mor scored four goals and Ariel Cordova also scored for the Jackrabbits. 

The Jackrabbits have been up to some tough tasks this season, facing higher division league opponents in Millikan and Wilson. Poly coach Ryan Rockenbach says he embraces these tough games as he believes it pushes his team in the right direction despite the team's losses.

“League rivalry games are always tough and Wilson is an incredibly strong opponent especially this year,” Rockenbach said. “I can be happy with the attitude we played with this game and our offense was producing. We earned a lot more ejections today than games in the past and our girls were fighting through it entirely. I loved how supportive our bench was especially to the seniors in their last home game today.”

Both coaches will look to shift their teams focus towards the postseason as they play their final games of the regular season.

“Our big focus now is postseason,” Rockenbach said. “We jumped up another spot in the division 3 rankings, and so we need to be able to take this loss knowing we created some opportunities today against a really tough opponent. If we can do that against a division 1 open team than we can do that against division 3.”

As for Wilson, the Bruins look to play for key positioning to end their season.

“We’re hoping that we can stay in that top eight,” O'Dea said. “We got a big tournament this weekend that’ll determine a lot of that. But, in my opinion I think that in a one game playoff situation, where it’s not a tournament and we’re prepping for one game, I think we’re as good as anyone out there.”

Eli Aquino
Eli Aquino is a high school student with plenty of writing and technology skills. He has a healthy knowledge and passion for sports and looks to take on journalism as a future career.