IRVINE — Talking to Sarah Wilkey last summer at the USA Water Polo Junior Olympics, she had a sort of quiet confidence.
Wilkey was about to start her senior year. She was stepping into the starting goalie role for the Newport Harbor High varsity girls' water polo team, an especially important position for the Sailors and their renowned press defense.
"I had to jump into it really quickly," Wilkey said at the time. "I really don't have that much experience, so it's been kind of hard to adjust, but I think we're doing a good job all together."
Wilkey has worked hard to become a known quantity. Just a year later, all eyes were on her on Sunday evening at a near-capacity Woollett Aquatics Center. She was the starting goalie for Huntington Beach Water Polo Club in the championship match of the girls' 18-and-under platinum division at the USA Water Polo Junior Olympics.