Girl power twice as nice for water polo

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It’s a great time to be a Culver City High School sports fan. For the past few months, the city has enjoyed watching the Centaur varsity teams win the majority of their games and make it to the prestigious CIF playoffs.

Not only have the teams made it to the playoffs, two teams have won CIF titles. Winning a CIF crown is one of the hardest accomplishments in high school sports. You have to win five games against some of the best teams in Southern California. In December the girls’ volleyball team won a title and last Saturday the girls’ water polo team won the championship. This was Culver City’s first water polo CIF championship in school history.

The Centaurs beat the Valencia Tigers 4-3 at Mira Costa High School.  Shocking, surprise and amazing are just a few adjectives that describe Culver City’s rise to the top of high school water polo.  “When we finally won the championship it didn’t feel real,” said Culver City head coach Nestor Dordoni Jr.  “You try to soak everything all in from the beginning of the season to the championship game.  It was remarkable. It will all soak in when I look back at the season and realize how hard it was to win a championship.”

Culver City took a 4-1 lead into the final minutes of the game but Valencia would not give up. “We got a little tired towards the end of the game but you have to give Valencia credit because they kept coming back,”  said Dordoni Jr.  “At the end of the game we had trouble getting the ball into the cage but our girls fought hard to prevent them from scoring any more goals.”

The water polo team already had a strong foundation, but when Alexis Anderberg transferred to Culver City all the pieces to the puzzle were complete. “Alexis, along with the other girls that were already here I knew we were going to be good but I did not think we were good enough to go all the way. Our goalie, Melanie Marquez was very vocal this season and she had a good game against Valencia.”

The other starters on the team were Alexandra Gilett, Amaya Mendez, Yvette Defelice, Claribel Alcantar, Karla Ramirez. Eboni Harrison was the first player off the bench. Other players on the team are Merhawit Mehzun, Alaina Brandt, Kaceline Osorio, Estefania Mendez, Jessica Carillo, Jocelyn Valdez, Anna Lewicki, Meseret Mehzun, Jocelyn Herrera, Sakura Minamida, Jasmine Hopkins, Emma Snyder and Juansteen Hodur.

Dordoni Jr. continued to talk about his team, “This was a good group of girls. It’s funny, they were not that close out of the pool but when they got in the water they all found a common ground to win games for the school. You have to give credit to the girls.”

Dordoni Jr. wants to also give credit to his coaching staff. “The coaches on my staff are extremely dedicated and hard working.  Without them we could not have made it this far.”  The assistant coaches are Christobal Galvan, Curtis Rooks, and Nestor Dordoni Sr.

The happiest person at Mira Costa High School last Saturday was probably Dordoni Sr. Watching his son win a CIF championship in his first year as a head coach had to be something special.  Dordoni Sr. was the water polo and swimming coach at Culver City High School for the past 38 years.

“My father was really happy,” said Dordoni Sr  “Some people were joking with my father about me winning a CIF championship in my first year.  He was really proud of the team and the coaching staff but he was really excited for me. He still is involved in the program. He does the scheduling of the buses and a lot of other things. He is always there supporting the program.”

Maybe the most astonishing thing about Culver City’s success in the water during the Dordoni era is they don’t have a pool on campus. They use the pool at Vets Park a few blocks away from the campus. If they had a pool on campus the Dordoni family would be winning championships a lot more often.

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