It’s not always easy being a member of the Arroyo Grande High School girls water polo team. There’s the pressure to continue the Eagles' crazy long league winning streak (which reached 144 games this season). There's the early two-a-day practices, and many times players sacrifice Christmas vacations to stay at home and practice.
Senior Sarah Kasper has been through it all during her four years.
“I have had some discouraging moments, but I have such a supportive team and coach. They deserve a lot of credit for my success,” Kasper said.
Kasper started to come alive during her junior and turned that into the best season of her high school career her senior year. Kasper, The Tribune Girls Water Polo County Player of the Year, scored 60 goals for the water-polo powerhouse — and she did it from every angle.
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“She figured out that she could be a good goal scorer and turned into a leader for our team,” head coach Steven Allen said.
When Sam Vitt, one of the team’s best players, missed time with a shoulder injury, Kasper was right there to pick up the slack.
“(Vitt’s injury) put a lot of responsibility on me to bring in the younger girls, and they were up for it,” Kasper said.
Kasper helped keep the Arroyo Grande league winning streak alive and led the Eagles to their 15th straight PAC 8 title. She scored four goals in the first period of a win over Santa Monica in the CIF-Southern Section Division 2 playoffs and gave the team a fighting chance against Santa Margarita in a second-round loss.
Her skills caught the eye of the coaches at Long Beach State, a Top-15 program in the nation, which offered her a spot as a walk-on. If she keeps getting better, she has the chance to earn a scholarship down the road.
“I just wanted to play,” Kasper said. “I went for a visit, and all the girls were really cool and supportive.”
Kasper is sure she would have never had the opportunity to play with an elite program like LBSU if it wasn’t for her parents and her coach.
“When I first started in eighth grade, I couldn't throw a ball," he said. "(Allen) saw that I could swim, and he put me with the varsity girls. I thought ‘Wow, he’s putting a lot of pressure on me,’ but he was just trying to get me prepared. Every little detail is thanks to him.”