Leading Andover Girls Water Polo to a 5-1 record so far this season, Co-Captain Alexa Rodriguez Pagano ’16 is looking to guide Andover to a New England Prep School Athletic Conference (Nepsac) Championship for the first time since 2014.
As a four-year veteran on the team, Rodriguez Pagano brings a wealth of knowledge about water polo to the pool during Andover’s practices and games. Additionally, Rodriguez Pagano always tries to raise team morale in different ways, establishing strong relationships with every member of the team and providing optimism during practices.
Three-year player Sarah Al-Mayahi ’17 said, “She has so many different skills because she has so much experience. She’s also just a really good whole set. She talks a lot, communicates a lot, and gives advice. She tries to have personal relationships with every single player. She’s very positive, she’s never negative, she always brings a positive energy to practice, and she’s always smiling.”
Rodriguez Pagano’s close relationship with fellow Co-Captain Sasha Newton ’16 also makes them a solid pair of team leaders.
While providing positive encouragement to her teammates, Rodriguez Pagano also understands the need to always remain focused during workouts in order to improve every week. The balance of fun and seriousness in her leadership makes Rodriguez Pagano an approachable and admirable figure on the team.
Choi added, “Sometimes we’ll joke around or get distracted and [the Co-Captains] are the people who say, ‘Okay guys, we have to work on – whatever. We have to stay committed and just stay focused.’ They’re really good at making everyone comfortable. While we’re scrimmaging they always try to give people advice.”
Newton said, “Alexa is serious about her sport and brings an admirable intensity but knows how to have fun. She is relaxed and easy to collaborate with!”
Rodriguez Pagano dedicates a significant amount of her time as a leader on the team to suggesting different ways for her teammates to improve.
Katherine Sweetser ’17 said, “In practice, Alexa always gives helpful feedback to the girls and she encourages us to make the most of every drill; she encourages us to always push ourselves. She is also very aware in games and very good at communicating with the team on important ways we can improve our game strategy.”
During games, Rodriguez Pagano shares her insight and experience with the rest of her teammates in order to devise the best possible method to handle a gameplay situation.
Rodriguez Pagano extends her leadership particularly to new members of the team who may have limited experience playing water polo. Rodriguez Pagano holds the team’s newest recruits to a high standard and expects them to step up and learn the new sport quickly. Always looking to help others improve, Rodriguez Pagano pushes these newcomers to their limits in the pool.
“The thing I like about her is that she treats you as if you’ve been playing water polo for a very long time,” said Choi. “I started playing this year, so I didn’t know anything about water polo. But during games when I would be defending her, she would always be really aggressive and she would teach me how to do certain skills and defenses.”
Rodriguez Pagano and Newton always remind their teammates to approach them with any questions they may have. Additionally, the Co-Captains do not hesitate to tell the team about its steady improvement before every game.
With Rodriguez Pagano at the helm, Andover hopes to finish its season on a successful note.
Editor’s Note: Sarah Al-Mayahi is an Illustration Editor for The Phillipian.