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Trio of La Cañada water polo teams look for growth

Water Polo: La Cañada High, Flintridge Sacred Heart and Flintridge Prep are all looking for improvement in 2013-14.

November 26, 2013|By Andrew J. Campa, andrew.campa@latimes.com
  • Flintridge Sacred Heart Academy's Devin Aubert (front) is one of a few key returners for the Tologs this season. (Raul Roa/File Photo)
Flintridge Sacred Heart Academy's Devin Aubert…

LA CAÑADA — Growth appears to be the operative word in regards to the city of La Cañada’s three girls’ water polo teams as the season nears its start.

At La Cañada High, the Spartans welcomed a new coach in former assistant Davey Brown, who replaced Kristen Dronberger.

“We’re going to have a whole new coaching strategy and I really think we can compete in league and finish second or third,” Brown said. “We’re trying to give South Pasadena a run for their money this year.”

Competitiveness was an issue for the Spartans last season, as the team finished with a 3-12 overall record and was fifth in the Rio Hondo League, off the pace of league champion South Pasadena (13-8, 8-0 in league).

While those numbers may not be too flattering, some figures that do have Brown optimistic are 12 and 26, which stand for the number of varsity players and total athletes within the program, respectively.

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“Part of our problem is that our girls’ numbers have been down the last few years,” Brown said. “But with our age groups and the help of [boys’ water polo coach] Christian [Flores], we’re ready for a turnaround.”

The Spartans return three key starters in junior driver Miranda Mora, senior driver Lindsay Coss and senior two-meter attacker/defender Anastacia Menemenlis.

“Miranda is my star player who can shoot, drive, set and draw kick-outs. She’s coming off a shoulder injury and is at 80% now,” Brown said. “You look at Lindsay, she’s a Rose Bowl Aquatics swimmer and knows her way around the game.

“As for Anastasia, well let me just say she’s going to be annoying. She is a great defender and is going to bug the heck out of her girl until that player gets ejected.”

One up-and-comer to keep any eye out for is freshman Heather Connelly.

While La Cañada is on its third coach in three years, up the hill, Flintridge Sacred Heart Academy is enjoying stability for the first time in a while as coach Carlos Ponce for returns for year No. 2.

“I know the team went through a coaching change the last three years before I took over, so I wanted to put us in a different direction for once and stay,” Ponce said. “Last year, the girls simply got tired of losing and played very well.”

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