Catherine Carpenter has always thought that the best offense is a good defense.
People usually say the inverse is true, but Carpenter has always been defense-minded.
She comes from a tough family. Younger brother Benton, a sophomore at Newport Harbor High, also plays defense for the boys' polo team. Her father, Scott, was a two-way football lineman at Corona del Mar High before playing center and right guard at Stanford in the early 1980s.
Water polo games, like football games, can be won in the trenches. Catherine Carpenter doesn't mind.
"In AYSO soccer I was always a defender," she said. "In basketball I wasn't really into shooting it. I've always been more into defense. I've always thought that was a lot more important."
It's served the Stanford-bound senior well on the Newport Harbor girls' water polo team. For the past two years, she's been a primary two-meter defender.
Sailors Coach Bill Barnett is comfortable with Carpenter back there guarding set. It would be safe to say that his Sailors, they of the press defense, also put a premium on defense..