Faced with three penalty throws in the span of ten minutes, Andover Girls Water Polo Co-Captain Jessica Guo ’23 denied all three of Williston’s shots, taken from just five-meters away from the goal. Through moments like these and a level-headed approach, Guo serves as Girls Water Polo resilient Co-Captain.
According to Lyla Guthrie ’23, Guo has a tendency to make the impossible possible. In particular, Guo has been consistently effective in dangerous situations, similar to what she faced against Williston.
“The saves she was making in our last few games were absolutely nuts. Teams had a hard time scoring on us when our defense was set up, so most of their best shooting opportunities came in the form of a breakaway. At that point, you think it’s over right…and then Jess comes out of nowhere with a crazy save. [I get] chills just thinking about it, to be honest,” said Guthrie.
Guo has embraced the challenges of being the team’s mentor. As a member of the team since her Junior year, Guo aims to spread her wisdom and create a comfortable environment for her teammates.
“I do my best to give my tips and tricks to inexperienced teammates and am overall very supportive of my team. It sometimes gets frustrating when we don’t get the results that we want, but are clearly still improving, so I make sure to check with everyone and try to keep the vibes up. I also remind people to go to the trainers when they need to, get enough sleep, and do anything else that keeps our players playing water polo,” said Guo.
Guo’s efforts have made a strong impression on her younger teammates, according to Caitlyn Chow ’25. Since the beginning of the season, Chow has felt Guo’s impact.
“Jessica has always come off as a really warm and sweet person. When I was a Freshman on the team last year, she would always help and support me, and I am endlessly grateful for her kindness,” said Chow.
Additionally, Guo has helped guide her teammates through tough moments. Sophia You ’26 noted how an individual interaction with Guo motivated her to persist through challenges.
“When I think of Jess, I think of the time that I felt down after a game. I didn’t know what I was doing, and I felt like I was in the way, and that I was holding the team back. Then, Jess sat down next to me after the game, and told me that I was a great player, and that I was doing everything right. Her words served to motivate me, and I felt that I had to try my best for her and the rest of the team,” said You.
Guo has also bought into the team’s values. According to Lyla Guthrie ’23, Guo is able to take advice to heart.
“[Head Coach Howie] Kalter really pushes the idea of the ‘goldfish brain.’ You get one second to think about the mistake you made and then you forget about it and move on. I think Jess has really achieved that. Water polo is a pretty high scoring game. The goalie isn’t expected to have a 100 percent save percentage. In fact, most goalies have less than 50 percent. But Jess doesn’t let any goals scored on her impact the rest of her game” said Guthrie.
You shared a similar sentiment to Guthrie. Guo’s versatility has allowed the rest of the team to play knowing that they are supported.
“Jess leads the team by example. She’s a goalie on the team, and in games she never blames us for turning over the ball, or for not countering in time. Rather, she takes every play in stride, and is always ready to adapt. Jess never seems flustered, and she serves as a calming presence within a stressful sport,” said You.
Outside the water, Guo still works to bring the team together. By organizing events throughout the season, the team continues to build its camaraderie.
“Jessica makes sure that everyone feels valued. She invites us to eat dinner and brunch with her and makes an effort to connect with everyone. She is always encouraging and positive,” said Chow.
In return, the team has given Guo several fond memories to look back on. In particular, Guo treasures a home win that marks strong growth for the team.
“One moment that I cherish the most as a player is probably my last senior game which was also a home game. In this game, I saw the best water polo ever played by my team, including myself. It was such a fun time. We also beat Hopkins, which was also a plus. Seeing everyone so happy after that game was incredible. I will never forget that picture and feeling,” said Guo.
Guo hopes to continue her water polo journey beyond Andover. She aims to continue enjoying the sport at the club collegiate level.
“It’s a very easy way to build a friend group and community, especially when all of you are sort of suffering, but in a good way, and aiming toward the same goal. It’s also a very fun sport, so I’ll definitely continue playing water polo,” said Guo.
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