Posted: 12:00 p.m. Friday, June 6, 2014

St. Andrew’s, Post girls water polo team of the year

By Alyssa Barbieri

Special to The Post

For St. Andrew’s girls water polo team, this past year served as a growing experience for both players and its new coach. While it was a challenge for everyone, first-year coach Paul Rave and his team came out of the season with a sense of accomplishment.

“The kids weren’t used to me and I didn’t know them,” Rave said. “It was a really good group to get involved with, and we worked our way through it and did what my coaching philosophy is which is enjoy the sport whilst trying to get better at it. So by the end of it, it was really worth celebrating.”

The biggest challenge for the team proved to be getting accustomed to Rave and his less-structured coaching style.

“My coaching style is different from other coaching styles they’ve seen out there,” he said. “It’s really based on teaching some tools, teaching some fundamentals, but not really telling them what to do. Really giving them the keys as far as what’s going to happen in the water.”

It’s a style that the girls initially struggled with but eventually grew to respect and thrive in. And the tactic certainly paid off as the Scots advanced to the state quarterfinals, where they lost to eventual state champion Ransom Everglades.

The team’s cohesiveness proved to be its biggest strength. Rave found it refreshing to coach a group where there wasn’t a clique or an outcast.

“Wherever we were, whoever was there to make the trip or practice, or if someone was out or not, it was kind of like this solid group of supportive people,” Rave said. “It’s something that’s fun to be around.”

Reflecting back on the highest point of the season, Rave cited his team’s overtime victory in an Orlando tournament match against Orlando-Boone as a moment that really spoke volumes about the group. Trailing by two entering the fourth quarter, the Scots rallied back to outscore Boone 5-0, which was more than double the goals they’d scored in the first three quarters combined.

“It was one of those light bulb moments for the team,” Rave said. “We were playing one way and it was a grind-it-out type of game. A few moments happened that sparked a little bit of inspiration and everyone started getting more excited. Instead of being a team that should have been exhausted during that long battle, they actually looked like they’d gotten more energized as time progressed.”


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