SAN DIEGO - The girls water polo team at Poway High School was once a powerhouse in Division I. The Titans reached the finals seven times in 10 years, winning the section title four times. That was more than a decade ago but just last month, they got back to their winning ways and claimed history.
Second-year head coach Crystal Patterson, or "Coach Okie" as her girls call her, defines the Titans water polo season as one of dedication.
"They knew that they had to do," said Patterson. "Year-round water polo, they needed to practice day in and day out and it just showed how passionate they were. They really believed in the system, they really believed in themselves as a team and they worked their butts off to get where they were."
After winning just 11 games least year, Poway finished this season with a 25-9 record. The biggest difference they say was the family like culture.
"I definitely think we're a lot closer than any other sports team," said junior defender Grace Kellerman. "We spend so much time together and just our ability, our personalities mesh really well."
That chemistry in and outside the pool proved valuable in the Division II playoffs. The second-seeded Titans defeated top-seeded Fallbrook 4-2 in the championship game, winning the San Diego section title for the first time in 12 years.
"We knew we could do it coming into the season if we worked hard, if we play like we know how to play, we can do it and so I think it was definitely a goal," said goalie Mya Davis.
One week later, the Titans cruised to the state Division III title at the SoCal Girls Water Polo Championships, where they defeated La Costa Canyon 14-5.
"They were a very aggressive team and we knew we had to keep up and make sure to run our offense the best way that we could," said Patterson. "I just told them this is our last game of the season, let's make a statement and that's what they did."
The Titans made history as the first girls water polo team in the San Diego section to win a CIF state title, an accomplishment they say was a dream come true.
"Poway High hasn't won girls in so long and we made it back onto that board for CIF and so we were just in shock and pure joy and excitement because we worked for this and we got it," said Davis.
"I can't believe that we can call ourselves state champs," said Patterson. "It's a rewarding feeling, especially for these kids."
With their state title win, the Titans will compete in Division I next season.