Some people might find it curious how Marina's Jenny Lamb was selected The Times Orange County girls' water polo player of the year. Marina Coach Dave Carlson thought it was a no-brainer.
"We built our whole team around one all-star," Carlson said. "Everything started with Jenny, but our team was great because everyone accepted their roles."
Marina (24-5) won the Southern Section Division I championship, defeating previously unbeaten and favored Long Beach Wilson, 7-3, in the final. Lamb led her team in scoring (73 goals) and her defense was even more influential. Lamb had 170 steals.
"She could be the best two-meter defender in the nation," Irvine Coach Scott Hinman said.
And Lamb, a senior, is good enough to play at UCLA next season.
Still, in the local girls' water polo community, Los Alamitos goalie Jackie Frank is widely regarded as the game's most dominant player. She had a fine season, sparkling in goal. She even scored several goals on length-of-the-pool shots and has earned a full scholarship to Stanford.
"If I were building a team, I'd start with Jackie," Hinman said.
But Lamb made a bigger impact on both ends of the pool.
"I'd build a team around Jenny," Carlson said. "Defensively, she was just dominant. Nobody could score on her from two meters.
"So with Jenny in there, we never had to worry about two meters. The rest of our defense could just pressure their shooters and the result was that teams didn't get many uncontested shots.
"And we had Candice Chick in goal, who is probably the second-best goalie in the county behind Jackie. As a coach, I'd rather see fewer shots at Candice, which you have with Jenny in there, than more uncontested shots at Jackie.
"Add to that, Jenny can score on the other end."
Whatever the championship recipe, Lamb's credentials and winning record are undisputed.
"Winning CIF says it all," Lamb said. "I think Jackie's awesome and she deserves all the attention and awards.
"But what I liked about our team is that everyone won the championship. Everything wasn't all Jackie, or all Jenny's team. At Marina, we did it together."