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A Cal Women's Water Polo Blog By Claire Sonne

Feb 25, 2021

Senior Claire Sonne takes readers inside Cal women's water polo in this season's blog.

April 8, 2021

Hello, Cal Women's Water Polo supporters!

The Bears had a great weekend of competition. We defeated ASU in both games with some solid team wins! Over the past two weeks, we have been training hard in many ways; in particular, we have been focusing on our team defense and building our team unity and chemistry. I am so proud of how we battled through both games, together - playing for each other. That's what it's all about and I can't wait to see how we continue to grow as a group.

Big congratulations to our defensive rock, Cass Ball, on earning MPSF Player of the Week! We're so proud of you!

This past weekend was also the first time in over a year that we have been able to compete in front of fans. We are now able to host a small number of invited guests to our home games, and we are so grateful that some of our friends and family were able to be in the stands (while following strict Covid-19 safety guidelines) cheering us on - we really felt the energy and the love!

Here are a few fun photos from the weekend courtesy of the amazing Catharyn Hayne. We appreciate you, Catharyn!

This week, I'm going to mix it up a bit by sharing some insights about favorite spots, foods, memories and more from different members of the team!

Senior Brigit Mulder humbly shared that because "the Dutch cannot be the best at everything" as it would be "unfair to the rest of the world," her favorite type of food is Italian cuisine.

Sophomore Shea Salvino's favorite holiday is St. Patrick's Day. She says that St. Patrick's Day is "special to my family because we had lots of Saint Patty's Day traditions" like making one of her favorite dishes - corned beef and soda bread. Plus, she's Irish!

Sophomore Isabel Williams, who I'd say is quite the movie and TV show connoisseur, shared that her all-time favorite TV show is "Community." Here's a picture of Izzy showing off her Community-themed mug!

Freshman Mara Loughlin's favorite sunset spot is the Lawrence Observatory in the Berkeley Hills! This spot has an unbelievable view of the whole bay.

Double Feature of the Week!!
First up: Juliette Zamoyski

  • Year: Freshman
  • Major: Undecided (American Studies?)
  • Position: Center Defender/Attacker
  • Favorite Berkeley Restaurant: Abe's!!!
  • Fun Fact: I never throw away the glass bottles that I get when I buy food because I want to keep them to put shells and sea glass and nice rocks in
  • Favorite Cal Women's Water Polo Memory: My favorite memory playing with Cal was after I scored my first goal in a game. It was in our game against Fresno Pacific and I just remember all my teammates standing up and cheering for me so loud and I could even hear everyone screaming after when I watched it on film later.

Next up: Cassidy Ball

  • Year: Senior
  • Major: Psychology and Spanish Language
  • Position: Goalie
  • Favorite Berkeley Restaurant: La Note + Abe's (lol)
  • Fun Fact: My younger brother Kai (on the men's water polo team), Georgia (on our team) and I all used to live together!
  • Favorite Cal Women's Water Polo Memory: When I was a kid I remember watching Cal play USC at USC and looking down at the goalies at the time and wishing so so so badly I would be them one day. The first time I played at USC and stood for announcements with our suits on I remembered that moment and almost cried from the pride I felt to be a Bear. Not so much a memory but a moment I love.

Until next time… Go Bears on 3! 1...2...3…!!!

April 1, 2021

Welcome back to Counters with Claire!

Although Women's History Month is officially over, we must continue to share female stories, uplift unheard women voices, continue to educate ourselves, and celebrate women everywhere - based on their accomplishments and merit, not gender. Furthermore, I'd like to restate my own and our entire programs solidarity with Black Lives Matter, #STOPAAPIHATE, the LGBTQIA+ community, and all those being oppressed.

Last week, we had a week off from classes as it was spring break! Your Bears spent the majority of spring break splashing around in the Spieker and Legends pools together. With a much needed break from the usual hours on zoom everyday, we had a chance to really focus on our training. The team also competed in some creative bonding activities - we were told to show up to the pool deck on Saturday wearing "clothes and shoes that we didn't mind getting messy" … and that's all the info we were given by the coaches. We competed in a water balloon toss competition, a trivia game, and in some intense relays in the pool (with ALL of our clothes on including our shoes!). 

Freshmen Maryn Dempsey, Juliette Zamoyski, and Mallory Reynoso used some of their spring break time in between trainings to adventure to the Marin Headlands for a cute lil picnic! This spot has a view of San Francisco and the entire bay. To get to this cool spot from Berkeley, you even get to drive over the Golden Gate Bridge! The Bay Area is definitely full of beautiful viewpoints.

Over the past couple of weeks, we have all been working incredibly hard in the pool, weight room and in the classroom. Last weekend we had no competition, but the weekend prior we had two battles against USC. While we fell short in both games, we worked hard and improved and learned from our game on Saturday into our game on Sunday. I'm proud of the way we played together and I'm particularly proud of the way we have bounced back from losses and have put our focus into our training. We are building chemistry and improving every single day and it is so exciting and special to be a part of - this group has big things coming! We are looking forward to our home games this weekend against ASU.

Feature of the Week: Grace Raisin

  • Year: Junior
  • Major: American Studies
  • Position: Center
  • Favorite Berkeley Restaurant: Sliver
  • Fun Fact: I've wanted to be a Cal Bear since I was little
  • Favorite Cal Women's Water Polo Memory: Pride tournaments. I love dressing up in our teams and competing against each other!

March 18, 2021

Hey, Cal family!

This week, I'd like to start by saying that we stand in solidarity with the Asian American and Pacific Islander community and we are in full support of the #STOPAAPIHATE movement. For those of you who may be affected by the recent hate crimes, our love and support goes out to you.

Your Bears had a long weekend on the road with two away games versus UCLA. We had long bus rides - we all kept busy by studying, playing games, dancing and singing, sleeping, and some made tik toks (@ Grace Raisin). While we were disappointed with the result of last weekend's games, we learned a lot and will persevere through this adversity. This week we have continued to work hard and build team chemistry in the weight room and the pool as we prepare for two conference games AT HOME versus USC this upcoming weekend! We're pumped!!!

Also, it was March 12th of 2020 that we found out that our season was canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic so a few days ago we had the one-year anniversary of this particularly difficult day for our team and so many others. Once we heard the news on that day, a lot of tears were shed and hearts were broken - but we came together one last time as we all held hands and jumped in the pool together at Spieker. I am feeling especially grateful for the opportunity we have now to train and compete together and play the sport that we all love. It's truly a special feeling getting to be a part of this program - balling with my bros every day.:

On another note, we'd like to introduce the newest two members of the Cal Women's Water Polo team…

Franklyn (age: 3 months)

Salem (age: 6 months)

Feature of the week: Carson Broad

  • Year: Junior
  • Major: Media Studies
  • Position: Creative Attacker
  • Favorite Berkeley Restaurant: ABE'S! Duh
  • Fun Fact: Her dogs look like tigers
  • Favorite Cal Women's Water Polo Memory: "My favorite Cal Women's Water Polo memory was when our team went to San Francisco to train during a recruitment trip. We couldn't train in Berkeley because of fires so we had the chance to go to the Olympic Club and then eat sushirittos! It was close to home for me because as a Bay Area kid I was excited to show the newcomers what it was all about!"

Until next time… Go Bears on 3! 1...2...3…!!!

March 11, 2021

Hey, y'all!

I hope every member of our Cal family is doing well! Last weekend, we played UC Santa Barbara in our home pool. In a game that was too close for our liking, we showed our team character by fighting through adversity and coming out with a win. We have spent this week learning from our mistakes and doing everything we can to prepare for our upcoming games this weekend! We are gearing up for a trip down to Los Angeles to start our conference play with a doubleheader against UCLA - and we are pumped!!! Freshman Maddie DeMattia says: "I am feeling really excited for our first MPSF game. We have worked really hard these last couple months and I can't wait to show everyone what we are made of."

Big congratulations to freshman Mallory Reynoso who was named MPSF Newcomer of the Week! We're so proud of you Mal! Mallory (who we like to call Malroy) had a goal, two assists, three steals, and a field block in our win last weekend! WOOHOO.

As we prepare for our game this weekend vs. UCLA, I am reminded of a special moment during our conference game versus UCLA three years ago during my freshman season. Anna Illes, a senior at the time, showed incredible passion during a defensive stop at this particular moment of the game (check out the video clip below) and I will never forget it. We ended up winning the game. I'm looking forward to some similar moments of passion coming up in a few days!

Feature of the week: Isabel Williams

  • Year: Sophomore (a super freshman as some people like to joke)
  • Major: Psychology
  • Position: Goalie
  • Favorite Berkeley Restaurant: Sliver. She checks the pizzas for their Chile pasilla flavor even if she doesn't even plan to get pizza
  • Fun Fact: She's currently the only out of state member of our team (other than our lovely international players, of course)
  • Favorite Cal Women's Water Polo Memory: Izzy says: "It's definitely a bittersweet memory, but I will never forget the last day of practice before season ended and all of us commemorating our abrupt ending by jumping in the pool with the coaches. It reminded me of how people celebrate the end of big games and it was our own little celebration of a season that meant so much to us and our seniors. And in true Berkeley fashion, we went out in style.

March 4, 2021

What's up, Bear family?!

Happy Womxn's History Month! I feel so grateful and honored to be surrounded by my teammates who are all badass, empowering womxn every day.

Last weekend, we got to play our first home game of the 2021 season! Getting to compete at Spieker is truly a special feeling - definitely my favorite pool in the world to play some water polo. The whole team was so excited to see the stands filled with our (cardboard cut-out) fans! Thank you to our Bear family who supported us through this endeavor - we are feeling the love!

It was a great feeling to have a big win against San Jose State for our first home game last weekend. We, as a team, have been focusing on being able to fire from all cylinders from the first whistle and come out with a strong start; and we were able to do that last weekend. We came out of the first quarter with a 6-1 lead and never looked back. Here's a photo of me and sophomore teammate, Isabel Williams, all smiles moments before our game last Saturday.

Sophomore Helena Batey gives an inside perspective on our team's energy over the past few weeks: "We're just excited. Every update comes in waves. Before it was exciting to be in the pool then it was exciting for contact, now it's exciting to be playing against other schools. At practices there's cheering for both offense and defense when we're competing against each other in the water as we continue to learn and prepare each other for the weekend's competitions." We have been training hard this week in the pool and the weight room and I'm excited to see us continue this work ethic and energy this weekend when we play UC Santa Barbara at home! 

Special shoutout to freshman Reagan Whitney who earned MPSF Newcomer of the week Honors! Reagan, who we like to call Rea Rea, scored three goals in our win against San Jose State. Rea Rea is also in Isabel and my weightlifting group (it must have been our motivation during lifting sessions that got her to get the award). But in all seriousness, we are so proud of you Rea Rea! #EarnIt

Your Bears have also been thriving in the (zoom) classroom these days. Junior,Cynthia Mulder is a sociology major taking a class on International Human Rights. Cynt says "I love this class because it shows how human rights are essential to keep our world at peace but they are also a lot more complicated than you might think. The last couple of weeks we've been going over different UN treaties and it's very interesting to see how these treaties are written and how much politics are involved. The professor is also doing an amazing job of making online learning as much fun as possible." Keep killing it in the classroom, Cynt!

Also, I'm going to feature a little bio about one of your Cal bears every week. First off is the amazing Megan Musick! 

  • Year: Freshman
  • Major: Undeclared, but intending on majoring in Public Health
  • Position: Lefty Attacker
  • Favorite Berkeley Restaurant: Berkeley Thai House
  • Fun Fact: Megan is a licensed minister! If anyone's getting married anytime soon, you know who to call…
  • Favorite Cal Women's Water Polo Memory: "Pride Trophy Game and coming to the pool seeing everyone dressed up"

We love you Megan!!

Until next time… Go Bears on 3! 1...2...3…!!!

Feb. 25, 2021

Hey, Bear Family!

It's been a long and difficult year; but your Cal Women's Water Polo team is so privileged, grateful and excited to be back in the pool! I'd like to start by saying as citizens of Berkeley and the world at large, we are in solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement; and, happy Black History month! A huge thank you to all of the frontline workers that continue to facilitate and endure the difficulties of life throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. As students and athletes we are grateful to those that are ensuring our safety on campus and in the pool. Our sympathies go out to all those that are suffering loss and pain during these unprecedented times. I hope everyone is staying safe, healthy, and happy!

Just a little bit about me - my name is Claire Sonne and I'm a senior on the Cal Women's Water Polo team for the 2021 season. I'm majoring in Gender & Women's Studies and minoring in Human Rights - and I'm currently conducting research and writing my honors thesis. I'm stoked to get this opportunity to write the weekly blog and help keep the entire Cal family in the loop on the behind the scenes antics of our team!

I want to highlight a couple of cool team moments that happened over the quarantine period before we had the opportunity to officially return to campus. Back on June 9th, our team organized an 8.46-mile walk in order to raise donations going towards Black Lives Matter.

Senior Georgia Gilmore and sophomore Isabel Williams said a few important words to the group that participated in the walk about continuing the fight for racial justice. Fighting for social justice is an important element of not only the UC Berkeley culture, but also for our team culture.

In the Fall, a group of us were able to have a physically distant hangout with our honorary teammate, Brianna! We played charades and caught up with her at Willard Park in Berkeley - we had so much fun! We miss getting to have Brianna on the bench with us at our games.

We all officially reported back to Berkeley on December 28th and completed the sequester and testing process before getting to dive back into training! We continue to rigorously follow all daily testing and distancing protocols. We have been training really hard in the pool and in our new outdoor weight room since we've been back. The team also played an intrasquad game a few weeks ago that we normally do in the Fall, called the Pride Game. Senior goalie Cassidy Ball and sophomore goalie Isabel Williams were team captains and we all dressed up in our team costumes and had fun competing. Congrats to Izzy's team on the W!

We also were able to safely have our picture/media day! We always have a good time dressing up in our team swag and taking some pictures. Here's a couple of highlights from the day featuring freshman Maddie DeMattia, sophomore Alyssa Barnuevo, junior Carson Broad, and freshman Juliette Zamoyski:

I can't forget to give a shoutout to our vry own Sydney Hammill, who just got accepted into the Haas Business School. She has worked incredibly hard and we are so proud of her! #sydneymentality

About two weeks ago, we had the opportunity to compete in our first official game of the 2021 season at Fresno State. We came out firing with a big win. This past weekend, we played Fresno State again in Fresno, and we were able to come out with another W, this time in overtime. We are just getting started as we continue to build our team family and create chemistry in the pool - I am so excited to see what we accomplish this season as a team, because I believe that we are going to do some pretty special things together!

We miss seeing you all in the stands at our games but we are definitely feeling all the virtual love and support from y'all!

Until next time… Go Bears on 3! 1...2...3…!!!