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Leading the La Cañada surge

Spartans senior utility player Berit Kaesler did everything in her power, while leading La Cañada to the CIF Southern Section Division IV semifinals

April 18, 2009|By Story by Seth Amitin ?Photo by Tammy Abbott

Berit Kaesler might owe some of her athletic prowess to genetics.

Being the daughter of a German gymnast probably aided in giving her the foundation she needed to become a success.

“I used to be a swimmer and I used to play soccer,” said Kaesler, a standout aquatics athlete at La Cañada High. “But I was never that great at soccer, and swimming got really boring.

“Water polo seemed to be the perfect fit for me. Being able to swim and outswim other girls, [and] all the strength required.” Now that she has finished a successful season as a standout utility player for the Spartans girls’ water polo team, Kaesler is competing for the school’s swim team.

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Whatever she does accomplish in swimming, it will be hard to trump what she was able to get done in water polo.

Kaesler was dominant during the 2008-09 season, scoring 69 goals to lead the team. In addition, she had 46 steals and 20 assists.

Her exploits helped lead La Cañada to the CIF Southern Section Division IV semifinals.

It is because of those accomplishments that Kaesler has been voted the 2009 All-Area Girls’ Water Polo Player of the Year by the sports writers and editors of the Glendale News-Press, Burbank Leader and La Cañada Valley Sun.

“She’s very talented,” Spartans Coach Steve Silversparre said, “but she’s very humble.”

“That’s what this season was about for Kaesler, getting her to realize just how good she is.”

Kaesler was the leading scorer on one of the most impressive offenses in Division IV. La Cañada also featured senior Shannon Streeter (65 goals), junior Riley Kessler (57 goals) and senior Rachel Connolly (48 goals).

“We had a lot of offensive weapons,” Silversparre said, “so we had a lot of set plays with three [players] on one side. Berit was in each of those plays.”

The past few seasons have been a huge transitional period for Kaesler, starting as a role player and then blossoming into a go-to player to turn in one the most impressive offensive seasons in the area.

The results translated into a great year. La Cañada commanded a solid regular season and a 22-6 overall record — with its six losses coming mostly against teams in higher divisions. The squad was also perfect (8-0) in the Rio Hondo league.

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