By Kristi Pavelich
Special Contributor to The Review
2019 was the last time the Lake Orion High School Varsity Water Polo team was in the pool in competition. Due to Covid-19, the girls’ season was canceled for spring 2020 and the Boys’ fall 2020 season was delayed.
This past week, both teams have been able to begin dryland training and actively participate in water drills, preparing for the season.
Julia White is in her third year on the coaching staff at Lake Orion, with this season being her first as the head coach of the girls varsity team.
“We are excited to get the teams back in the water. Water polo is a unique sport and we are happy they are getting the opportunity to play,” said White.
Corona protocols place unique challenges on Water Polo as the teams are tested on a more consistent basis to ensure health and safety for all the players.
Boys varsity coach Kevin Ott has been on staff with Lake Orion for six years and says, “I am so thankful for my parent group and the athletic staff for doing a lot of the heavy lifting from the administration of the COVID tests and required data entry. It will take a village to get through the season, but definitely worth it for our kids need to be kids again and make memories through both academics and sports! It has been so great this week to see smiles, cheers and high fives again!”
On Saturday, the boys varsity Dragons made an impressive start in their home opener, clamping down on the Chelsea Bulldogs, giving up only one goal, on the way to a 14-1 victory.
Junior Jack Watt was a force in the goal, covering the net for the entire first half, with senior Michael Pavelich stepping in to man the goal for the second half. When J. Watt swam with the Dragons, he added in one goal and Pavelich had two.
Offensively, the Dragons showed their team is excited to take on the season as new members LO sophomore Ivan Dashkevich and Clarkston junior Canyon Roodbeen added three goals each, with LO junior Noah Watt and Clarkston sophomore Lucas Breeden each adding two and LO junior Nick Kadulski chipping in one.
The girls varsity Dragons were defeated 11-8, with a strong showing in net by Oxford Senior Ellie Olheiser.
The Dragon offense put up a battle, led by LO juniors Jenna Manganello with three goals and Rose Corliss with two. They were supported by LO senior Emma Giem and juniors Dakota Guldi and Madi Gordon, who each shot in one.
The Dragons host the Mason Bulldogs on Thursday, April 1 with the varsity game at 6 p.m., followed by the junior varsity at 7 p.m.
See the March 31, 2021 issue of The Lake Orion Review for more photos.