Annaliese Ryan: El Mo’s Water Polo Standout

Junior Annaliese Ryan served a big role in the 2020 El Mo girls water polo team

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Playing water polo since she started as a freshman in 2017, Junior Annaliese Ryan plays like an experienced veteran. Ryan has helped the team get to CIF Semi-Finals this year and go 2-1 in the North Hills league, and have an overall record of 19-5.

Ryan plays set which is one of the main shooters, and also aims to draw in defense to open up the outside shooters. Ryan was inspired to start playing by Athletic Director Coach Drzanek, who pushed her and eventually convinced her to play water polo on the girls JV team. 

            To improve on her skills, Ryan worked hard in practices, sometimes staying overtime. Ryan also plans to play club water polo in the off-season to stay in shape and improve on her skills, as well as swimming on the El Mo swim team to improve her speed. She is currently looking for a club team to join. 

As with any sport, the competition between JV and the Varsity level are very different. Ryan explains that “The level of competition and intensity is much higher. On varsity, we have our eye on the CIF Championship and we put in more intense work.” The amount of work the varsity team put in showed when they had beat Santa Ana 14-3, Don Lugo 11-5 and Sonora 12-9. 

The team quickly showed themselves as serious competition when they “went from being unrecognized to being #2 in the CIF polls,” which made the team very excited and eager about CIF. 

             Though the team lost to Costa Mesa in the CIF Semi-Finals, the season “was still successful and a lot of fun.” Playing on the varsity team has “tightened friendships” between her and her teammates. Ryan speaks on a specific funny moment when her “teammate, freshman Juliet Otellio, dove into the lane line at CIF Quarter-Finals and acted like nothing happened.” 

              Ryan’s biggest support is her mom and her coaches. Ryan’s best piece of advice for new players is “to is to not be frustrated by how tough the game seems but to stick with it, you’ll be shocked on how tough you can become”

               For her senior season, Ryan is willing to put in any amount of work to earn the CIF Championship Title with her teammates and best friends. We can expect to see Ryan next February with a CIF plaque and a ring on her finger, alongside her teammates and coaches. 

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