Katrina Husted, a 2010 Vintage High graduate, has been named one of the UC Davis women’s water polo team’s three captains for the 2013-2014 season. The NCAA Division I program is ranked 18th in the country.
Husted will be a redshirt junior athletically next season, but she will be a senior academically and plans to graduate in the spring. She is majoring in human development.
She plays utility, which is mainly a defensive position. She played in 29 of the Aggies’ 32 games this spring and logged 283 minutes of playing time. She amassed 18 steals, five drawn ejections, three field blocks, four assists and two goals.
Katrina Husted’s older brother, 2001 Vintage graduate Kris Husted, played defense for the Aggies’ men’s team. Her younger sister, 2012 Vintage graduate Olivia Husted, redshirted this season and will be one of three returning goalkeepers next spring.
Katrina, like Olivia, starred in water polo, basketball and swimming at Vintage, was the Monticello Empire League Most Valuable Player both as a junior and senior, and played for the Napa Valley Water Polo club.
“Katrina has been a powerful defensive player since her time with Napa Valley Water Polo,” NVWP coach Sarah Saunders said. “She has made a solid contribution for the Aggies. I look forward to watching her play this coming year.”
Olivia set Vintage High water polo records for saves with 674 in her career, 277 in a season, and 22 in a game.
Despite her club and high school experience going in, Katrina said she’s learned a lot while playing at UC Davis.
“I’m still learning, which is probably what keeps me interested in and excited about the game,” she said. “Playing with NVWP and at Vintage gave me a great foundation, laid down the fundamentals for me and then, as I gained more experience, gave me the liberty to expand on those skills through scrimmages and games once I felt I mastered them. Playing at Davis has left me in a similar situation. We still work on a lot of the same fundamentals, and though the drills may be more detailed and rigorous, I try to find a way to take each new skill I learn and implement it into my game.
“My mom always said, ‘Pick a school that you would still be happy going to even if you broke an arm midway through your season.’ Although I love water polo, I picked Davis for so much more than that. I knew that coming from high school and entering a Division I university, I was no longer going to be a big fish in a small pond. But I had high hopes for myself and I didn’t feel pressure or anxiety over it because I knew that even if water polo didn’t work out, I was still attending a school that I would have picked regardless.”
Katrina said the Aggies take much pride in their No. 18 national ranking.
“At this level competitive nature is a common characteristic amongst athletes, so during the season we check the rankings regularly and take pride in our accomplishment,” she said. “We had a rough season this year, finding ourselves on the losing end of one-and two-goal games and even in a couple overtimes. Unfortunately, that doesn’t reflect in the rankings, so we didn’t rank as high as we could have. However, I have high hopes for this next year and future rankings.”
She said that becoming a captain won’t change her role too much.
“I will encourage my teammates and lead them in and out of the water, both by example and direction,” she said. “I will be someone my teammates can address with any issues, and someone that addresses the coaches. Most importantly, I will be a direct representative of the women’s water polo team at UC Davis as well as a representative of my teammates and coaches. These are roles that I have tried to fulfill for any team I’ve been on, and especially this one. Captain is just a title and one that I posses now. But all of the girls on this team, especially the seniors, take on the responsibilities of leaders.”
She can’t wait to have Olivia on her same team for the first time since high school.
“Olivia is a great addition to the team. Of course, some may say I am biased, but I think of my teammates as my sisters and I couldn’t think of a better addition to the group then my actual sister,” Katrina said. “Her willingness to learn, dedication, and positive personality over the last year has proven to me that she is an asset to this team.”
Katrina also played utility in high school, but said she is currently being developed and trained as a center defender.
“Although I still love to post up in set occasionally or play as an attacker, the focus on one position has helped me refine the skills needed to be an effective and efficient defender,” she said.
Olivia hopes to see plenty of time at goalkeeper during her sister’s last season at UC Davis.
“It’s a game-by-game situation,” she said of who gets to play goalie. “What it comes down to is who’s performing well in practice, which is always nice because there’s always room to improve and step up.
“Even though being able to play with your sister is not too common in college, it feels just like it did in high school. We just know how each other plays, and just kinda click into that mode. She’s a very good motivator, too. I’m excited that she’s a captain this year.”
After her record-setting senior year, and being named 2012-13 Napa County Female Athlete of the Year, Olivia was humbled somewhat by her UC Davis teammates’ talent. She’s been spending about half her summer days in Napa and half at practices for a Davis water polo club to get ready for her first season.
“It’s definitely a change of pace, but every day I’m learning something new. The older girls have a lot of experience and they’re so nice. They want you to improve as much as you do, and they’re always giving you tips and stuff to learn from what they’ve experienced,” she said.
“It was definitely a wake-up call from what I was used to in the past from shooters. I was so, so nervous at first, but the field players will give you some tips on how to block certain shots and what’s the best thing to do in certain situations. In high school, I knew the fundamentals and I relied a lot on my natural reaction. Now there’s a lot more thought process involved. We have meetings before each game about certain (opposing) players. Some have tricky shots that they’re known for.”