Matlyn Morris suffered a shoulder injury at the end of her junior water polo season that derailed her swim season.
But she wasn’t going to let it derail her senior year of water polo.
The Porterville star had surgery on her right shoulder in February to fix a torn labrum, and after using the offseason to recover, capped an impressive water polo career with the Panthers.
Morris led the Panthers to an undefeated East Yosemite League championship, which extended the program’s league winning streak to 66 matches, and finished with 93 goals, 38 assists and 56 steals.
For her efforts, Morris was named the Times-Delta/Advance-Register Tulare County Girls Water Polo Player of the Year for the second straight season.
“She fought so hard to come back from her injury,” Porterville coach Richard Taylor said. “The challenge was to take it slow and not rush and re-injure the shoulder.”
Even though Morris suffered the injury, Taylor knew she would get herself ready for the season. He said it is in her personality to overcome any odds.
“She sets goals for herself and works so hard to achieve them,” Taylor said. “When the challenge is there, she gets around it and keeps going forward.”
Morris was disappointed she missed her junior swim season, but was motivated to get back into the pool and come back stronger.
“I had some goals for swim season, but I’ll get to them this year,” she said.
Swim season is right around the corner, but water polo is still fresh in Morris’ mind.
She said she was excited heading into her senior season.
And who could blame her? She hadn’t lost a single East Yosemite League match her previous three years, and with 13 seniors on the team, it looked like a certainty that the streak would stay alive this year.
“The girls got along really well and we had a lot of talent,” Morris said. “We played really well. it was one of my favorite seasons.
” … Our banquet was emotional. We were crying because we had 13 seniors on the team. We’re losing a lot for next year. It was fun while it lasted, and I couldn’t ask for anything more.”
Morris is staying busy with her club swimming team in Tulare (TNT). And she says she is stronger than ever in the pool.
“I’m extremely excited because my coach says I look stronger after the surgery and bigger,” Morris said. “I think this swim season is going to go well.”
The future is still wide open for Morris, who hopes to continue to compete in aquatic sports in college. She said she is considering Fresno Pacific to compete in both swimming and water polo, Fresno State for swimming or CSU Northridge or CSU Bakersfield for water polo.
Wherever Morris decides to go, that school is going to get a model citizen. Not only has Morris been recognized for her abilities in the pool, she has also been recognized for the way she carries herself in and out of the pool.
Just recently she was awarded the Jim Coiner Sportsmanship Award by the Central Section.
And while all of the team accomplishments and individual accolades are great, being recognized for her sportsmanship is something she is very proud of.
“That really means a lot to me, knowing that the other coaches and people see me as a person and not just an athlete,” Morris said. “They can see the kind of person I am in and out of the water.”