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2009 All-Area Girls’ Water Polo ?Player of the Year:

Leading the surge

Spartans senior utility player Berit Kaesler did everything in her power, while leading La Cañada to the CIF Southern Section Division IV semifinals.

April 23, 2009|By Seth Amitin

Genetics is one thing. Being the daughter of a German gymnast, as Berit Kaesler is, may give an athlete a head start, but Kaesler might have been born to play water polo.

“I used to be a swimmer and I used to play soccer,” the La Cañada High senior said, “but I was never that great at soccer, and swimming got really boring. Water polo seemed to be the perfect fit for me. Being able to swim and outswim other girls, all the strength required.

“And then there’s the thinking involved and you have to be able to see what’s going on around the pool. The game is always changing and you have to be thinking.”

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Now that she’s in swimming, she still can’t get her mind off of water polo.

“I sometimes egg beat in the pool between races,” Kaesler said.

Kaesler was dominant in the 2009 girls’ water polo season for La Cañada High, scoring 69 goals with 46 steals and 20 assists.

And yet when learning she was voted the 2009 All-Area Girls’ Water Polo Player of the Year by the sportswriters and editors of the La Cañada Valley Sun, Glendale News-Press and Burbank Leader, she responded, “Really?”

“She’s very talented,” Spartans Coach Steve Silversparre said, “but she’s very humble.”

That’s what this season was about for Kaesler, Silversparre added: getting her to realize just how good she is.

And how. Kaesler was the leading scorer on one of the more impressive offensive forces in CIF Southern Section Division IV. The La Cañada team also featured senior Shannon Streeter, who finished with 65 goals; junior Riley Kessler, 57 goals; and senior Rachel Connolly, 48 goals.

“We had a lot of offensive weapons,” Silversparre said, “so we had a lot of set plays with three of [my players] on one side. Berit was in each of those plays.”

The past few seasons have been a huge transitional period for Kaesler, starting as the role player and then blossoming into a utility player with one the most impressive offensive season in the area.

The results translated into a great season. La Cañada commanded a solid regular season: 23-6, their six losses coming mostly from teams in higher divisions, and a perfect 8-0 in Rio Hondo play.

Entering the playoffs, the Spartans were cruising, beating Righetti 19-5 and Burbank 6-2. Kaesler led the way; she scored a hat trick against Burbank.

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