Captains’ Profile: Girls’ Varsity Water Polo

Ashley Lee ’23 in Sports | September 23, 2022

Opening up their season with a thrilling 13-7 victory against Germantown Academy, the Girls’ Varsity Water Polo team kicked off its campaign with a bang two weeks ago. 
This season is particularly exciting, since the team will compete in the new Tsai Field House Pool. Moreover, they are led by the league's finest co-captains: V Formers Maddy Laws,  Camille Trench, and James Van Meter.
Van Meter, who plays full defense, started her water polo career as a new III Former at Lawrenceville. She’s been swimming since she was seven years old, but had no experience in water polo prior to playing for Lawrenceville, though she does recall playing water polo scrimmages for fun with her swim team back in Kentucky. Her III Form fall season coincided with the hiatus of interscholastic activities in 2020. “I didn’t have a fall sport and was interested in water polo, so I took a chance.” Some would say it was fate. Van Meter fell in love with the sport at the first practice. Despite the disappointment of the canceled Covid-19 season, Van Meter’s passion was not dampened the next year, and with the help of her captains and her Coach, Stefanie Harrison, Van Meter improved greatly. She also revealed that playing water polo in college is certainly on the table: “But we will see.”
Trench, who plays whole set and utility, started playing when she was in sixth grade. Utility is a position in water polo when a player "can play anywhere." Much like the versatility of her position, Trench’s water polo career proved her ability to embrace new things and integrate well into them. She, like Van Meter, was initially a swimmer, but when her swim team club expanded out and formed a water polo club, she fell in love with it. She chose to change her sport from swimming to water polo after just one practice, and she has not looked back since. When asked what advice she would give to new players, she encouraged them not to become very irritated. She described it as “very different from other sports” and said it may be difficult at times because there are “a lot of moving parts,” which she found overwhelming. Despite these difficulties, she recommended students to “stick with it” since she found it worthwhile, as she has done from sixth grade toher final year of high school.
Laws, a right wing offense and flat defense, began water polo in eighth grade with the Orange Edge Club. She has played since she was a II Former at Lawrenceville, and she stated that she “would not have it any other way.” When asked what she was most looking forward to this season, she said she did not want to have any regrets and wanted to “just go out there and leave it all on the table.” She stated that her personal goal for this season was working towards being able to play with more confidence, and she expressed that she wanted to “know how to use her strengths to [her] advantage in a game.” Overall though, she wants to learn to work together as a team and work towards each other’s improvement so that the Underformers can carry forth the water polo legacy. 
The three captains have a shared goal: to beat Hill Trench discussed how during her tenure at Lawrenceville, the Girls’ Varsity Water Polo team has yet to defeat the Hill School in a match, and she feels that graduating in May without defeating Hill is simply not an option. She also stated that this might be her final season as a member of an interscholastic water polo team, and she intends to make the most of it.
On that note, as co-captains, Laws, Trench and Van Meter discussed their goal: to help new and returning players. The positive thing about this season’s team is that it is relatively smaller in size, which will allow team bonding to come quicker and easier. Van Meter mentioned that there are a lot of new water polo players this year, and she wants to make sure that she will help them build their skills to be successful. She concluded by saying, “The main goal is for everyone to play and have fun while doing it!”