San Rafael girls goalie keeps opponents frustrated - MARIN IJ
With her curly blonde hair, and the perpetually tanned, slim-yet-strong physique of an aquatic athlete, San Rafael High goalie Carly Jackson-Clark doesn't look like much of a threat. In the water, however, it's a different story entirely.
"One of the rawest talents we have," San Rafael girls water polo coach Warren Thom said of his star goalie. "Sometimes we'll be watching her play and it doesn't even look like she's playing with the same age of kids."
To hear someone speak about Jackson-Clark, a senior and co-captain, is to hear heaps of accolades — with the numbers and skill to back them all up for the Bulldogs (6-2, 2-0 MCAL).
When Thom, who's in his second season as the Bulldogs coach, first met Jackson-Clark last season and was immediately impressed.
"I was really happy, because I love playing team defense and I love being able to open up the whole playbook and that's what Carly allows me to do," Thom said. "I'm not afraid of players shooting on her. I want players to shoot on her so it gets in their heads. She'll get 15, 20 blocks and by that point the other team is so demoralized, they don't think they can score, and that's an advantage, in my opinion."
Over three games from Sept. 11-15, Jackson-Clark had a total of 43 saves, including 16 during a 6-3 loss to Amador Valley.
"She just fights hard all game long and creates results," Thom said.
It was her longtime
friend and fellow co-captain, Natasha Sharpe, who convinced Jackson-Clark to try water polo instead of playing volleyball, which was her original plan.
Having Jackson-Clark in the goalie box, Sharpe said, "It's like the greatest gift ever. You don't have to worry that they're going to score because 90 percent of the time, they can't. She's unstoppable. In practice it's frustrating because we practice shooting but you just can't score on Carly."
It's frustrating, but rewarding.
"I think it's good for us because our girls inherently know how to shoot for the corners," Thom said. "To be the best you practice against the best, and I think you see that reflected in the way our girls shoot."
It's not just her coach and teammates who admire and respect her. Thom said he's regularly asked about her by other coaches, spectators and even referees.
2012 Summer Waterpolo Schedule
WATERPOLO PRACTICES ARE EVERYDAY AFTER SCHOOL IN THE SRHS POOL!!!!
GIRLS (12-11 overall, 4-6 MCAL)
@ Hercules - W (14-1)
@ Napa W (5-3)
vs San Marin W (11-6)
vs Marin Academy W (7-5)
CCC Tourney vs Berkeley W (15-2)
CCC Tourney vs Amador Valley L (6-3)
CCC Tourney vs Deer Valley L (5-1)
CCC Tourney vs Irvington W (8-2)
@ Redwood W (7-4)
@ Novato W (20-5)
@ Justin Siena L (8-6)
@ Napa Tourney vs Clayton Valley L (12-3)
@ Napa Tourney vs Fairfield W (13-2)
@ Napa Tourney vs American Canyon W (7-2)
vs Drake L (15-3)
vs Marin Catholic L (15-1)
@ Pinole Valley Tourney vs Pinole Valley W (9-1)
@ Pinole Valley Tourney vs Deer Valley L (9-2)
@ Pinole Valley Tourney vs Encinal W (9-2)
@ Pinole Valley Tourney vs California L (6-5 3OT)
@ Tamalpais L (8-6)
vs Terra Linda L (6-5)
@ Tamalpais L (8-3)