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Striving to be the best team

With an inexperienced squad this year, La Cañada looking to build up program.

December 08, 2010|By Andrew Shortall, andrew.shortall@latimes.com

Josh Moser has a dream — to make the boys' team the second-best polo program at La Cañada High.

"Ideally, I want people to think about La Cañada High School as a girls' water-polo school," Moser said. "I want to get it to a point where the boys' water-polo program is an afterthought. Obviously that's a ridiculous thought because of how dominant they are, but I have no interest in running a program that's second best."

Moser, who is entering his first year as the Spartans girls' water-polo coach, realizes this vision will probably take a few years.

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First of all, this is Moser's first time coaching in the Rio Hondo League. He doesn't know what to expect from league opponents, or how his team will match up against them yet.

La Cañada also enters the season with an inexperienced team. The Spartans' roster consists of four seniors this season after boasting a team stacked with seniority last year.

"We don't really know what we got yet," Moser said. "We are definitely short on experience. We graduated a lot last year."

La Cañada enters the season as the eighth-ranked team in the preseason CIF Southern Section Division III poll. The Spartans finished the 2009-2010 season 18-10 overall record (6-2 in league) and were second in Rio Hondo League. The team was eliminated in the semifinals of the Division IV playoffs by Arroyo Grande, 11-3.

Riley Kessler and Mary Reardon left two big holes for La Cañada when they both were graduated last year. Both players were Rio Hondo League first-team and CIF Southern Section Division V third-team selections.

There's no question about who Moser's star will be, though. Rita Neat, a senior, will fill that role after also being named to the Rio Hondo's first-team and the Division V third-team last season.

The Spartans will be running a transition offense this year, driving the ball a lot to help the team's inexperienced players get acclimated to the game.

"In my ideal world, we set up a half-court attack, press the lane, set counters and win every ball," Moser said. "We are working with some girls with limited experience coming in though."

Moser is focused on making every practice count with all the uncertainty surrounding his team this season.

"We're focused on working harder and just kind of pushing ourselves more in practices," Moser said. "We want to be the biggest, fastest and strongest team out there each time we compete."

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