Krystle, a senior and the captain of the Deer Valley varsity girls water polo team, was once a scared freshman who didn’t know a whole lot about the sport. Vicki and Trisha, freshman twins (Vicki was born first), played the sport for the first time this year, and started off timidly.
But Krystle sees more. She sees the potential for growth in her sisters, for putting up the kind of numbers she has. Wolverine head coach Kiel Olff said Krystle has been the team’s MVP this year.
“I want them to live up the coach’s expectations of what I turned out to be,” Krystle said. “I put a lot of pressure on them. We always talk about it at home after practice and I want to make it easier for them to understand than it was for me my freshman year.”
This was a key rebuilding year for Deer Valley, which lost many of the players who were key in the team’s league title run last year. While Krystle has been a vital member of Wolverine teams of the recent past, Vicki and Trisha stand a pretty good chance of helping to return Deer Valley to the top of the standings.
The team finished this season 3-5 in Bay Valley Athletic League play, conceding the title to Liberty and Freedom. Krystle scored 27 goals and grabbed 55 steals. Vicki scored three goals, stealing 20 balls; Tricia didn’t score, but stole the ball four times. By the end of the season, the twins had earned spots in the starting lineup.
“I figure the more time they play now, the faster they’ll grow,” Olff said of the twins. “When you first play, you’re like a deer in the headlights. It’s a confusing game to pick up. It’s not something that you see on TV or you play as a child.”
Olff said the girls have different styles. Though Krystle is the oldest, she’s also the shortest of the girls, but is a very physical player in the pool. When the Wolverines need to get the ball back, Krystle is usually the one who gets that done. Olff said Vicki has been coming along as a shooter and has great speed. The coach praised Trisha’s speed and defense as well as her calm demeanor.
“It makes us feel really confident, that we can really help and we won’t mess up,” Vicki said of her and her sister’s progression.
Much like her sisters, Krystle had never gripped a water polo ball before coming to Deer Valley. Volleyball and swimming had been her two passions throughout middle school, but when she didn’t make the cut for the Wolverines’ volleyball team, she figured she’d give water polo a try.
Krystle said she had to drag herself through each practice and game in her freshman year, but eventually, she caught on and started excelling. Soon she cracked the starting lineup, then was named to the All-BVAL Second Team in her sophomore year and First Team in her junior year.
Soft-spoken Vicki and Trisha, who are also swimmers and volleyball players, said it helps to have their sister right there, like a second coach. After games, they all meet up to talk about what went right, what went wrong, and offer support.
The twins said they’re starting to enjoy the sport and plan to play throughout their time at Deer Valley. “They have an opportunity, if they take it, to be MVP/BVAL-caliber players, if they put their minds to it,” Olff said. “They have the skill sets already, playing varsity as freshmen.”