The Bee's Fall All-Stars: Girls Water Polo Outstanding Defender

The Fresno BeeJanuary 9, 2014 

Clovis High water polo player Giuliana Tragitt, the Bee's Outstanding Defender of the Year.

CONTRIBUTED PHOTO

Outstanding Defender Giuliana Tragitt

School: Clovis

Grade: Senior

Qualifications: First-team All-Tri-River Athletic Conference and All-Valley Division I selection was defensive stopper for the Cougars, who captured their third Central Section title in four seasons, all featuring contributions from Tragitt. San Jose State-bound star helped limit two-time Bee Player of the Year Mary Brooks to two goals during second-seeded Clovis' 6-5 upset of top-seeded Clovis West in the section final. Tragitt scored 34 goals on 38% shooting, and came up with 19 steals in the finale of a three-plus-year varsity career.

Force in the middle: Clovis allowed 3.4 goals per game while going 22-8, and Cougars coach Evan Baird said a primary reason for that was Tragitt's play as a hole defender. Much of the work she puts in on the defensive end doesn't show up on the stat sheet, but Baird noted that many of McKenna Hauss' team-leading 40 steals came courtesy of Tragitt's efforts on opposing team's hole sets. "The ball is never getting in there because she's playing such good defense," Baird said.

Finding her way: Tragitt's mission to become the Cougars' shutdown defender experienced growing pains at the start of the season. Baird said Tragitt was so determined to carry the load defensively, that she was overly aggressive and picked up too many ejections. "She wanted to do everything herself and make sure the ball never got in (the hole)," Baird said. "But there are certain situations where they are going to be able to get the ball in the set no matter what you do." So Tragitt worked to improve. She learned to rely more on her teammates. The result was a hole defender who more often than not shut down the opposition's top scorer. "As prideful as she is, she was always willing to take advice and get better," Baird said.

All in the family: Giuliana's father, Peter Tragitt, swam for Cal and is currently Clovis' head boys swimming coach and an assistant with the boys water polo team. Her old brother, Michael, was The Bee's Boys Water Polo Player of the Year after leading the Cougars to a section title in 2008 and went on to play for Pepperdine.

Coach says: "She's really physical and never shied away from any challenge. We played in these big tournaments in Northern California with good D-I (college committed) players that are expecting people to let them take shots in the set, and she's wrestling with them every time, usually to her benefit." -- Baird

The reporter can be reached at (559) 441-6103, nickg@fresnobee.com or @NickG_FB on Twitter.

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