Former Los Banos High School teammates now rivals

By David Witte / sports@losbanosenterprise.comFebruary 7, 2013 

When Jennifer Cobb and Kara Orr were students at Los Banos High, they shared the pool for three years as teammates on the LBHS water polo team.

But when they took to the pool together Saturday in Monterey for the second time this season, it was as opponents -- Cobb is a senior 2-meter for Fresno Pacific University in Fresno, while Orr is a redshirt sophomore center for Cal State-Monterey Bay.

"The first time playing her I thought it was (strange), but now I'm getting used to it," Orr said. "I know how Jennifer plays, she knows how I play. I can use it as an advantage for my team. I know what I can get away with."

Orr's CSUMB Otters won Saturday's game 12-8, with Orr contributing a goal in the third quarter -- her first score of the season.

"I had the ball, passed into our set player, she passed it back to me, and I lobbed it over the goalkeeper," Orr said. "I never do lob shots. I'm definitely more of a strong shooter. But it was the best shot from where the goalie was set up."

Orr's goal did not come with Cobb defending her.

"A couple of times I went to shot-block her, or she might have shot-blocked me a few times,' Cobb said. "The first year I played against her it was weird, but now it's just good to see her and good to see her improving in the sport."

Cobb didn't score in the game, but she did score twice in a 9-6 win over Cal State-San Bernadino on Jan. 26 and has three this year.

The two grads played earlier this season, an 11-4 CSUMB win on Jan. 19.

Cobb was a year ahead of Orr at LBHS, and each was the a key team leader in their senior season -- though Cobb was more offensive-minded. Now Cobb starts in more of a support role in the 2-meter position, while Orr comes off the bench in the center spot.

"I came on the scene when Jennifer was a senior and Kara was a junior," former Los Banos water polo coach John Wallace said. "Both Jennifer and Kara are very aggressive in the water. Very competitive. One of the reasons we were successful that year was the competitiveness."

Now they hope to contribute in different, yet similar ways. Cobb is a social work major at Fresno Pacific who hopes to work with teens through the ministry after she graduates, while Orr hopes to eventually parlay her kinesiology major into teaching and coaching. She also hopes to get good enough grades to earn acceptance to a master's program.

"I love Monterey. My coach is awesome," Orr said. "I love the kinesiology program. I wouldn't change anything."

Cobb has similar sentiments about Fresno Pacific.

"I love it. I really love the school I'm going to," Cobb said. "I'm glad I made this choice."

Another Los Banos High graduate plays NCAA water polo -- freshman Morgan Hurley at Colorado State. While neither Fresno Pacific nor CSUMB have CSU on their schedule, CSUMB has had the Rams on their schedule in the past.

"It was really helpful my first couple of years to have players like them," Wallace said. "Especially coming from little Los Banos. Both of them came from that program when it was just beginning, so for both of them to go on is pretty cool."

Enterprise reporter David Witte can be reached by phone at 388-6565 or by e-mail at sports@losbanosenterprise.com

Enterprise reporter David Witte can be reached by phone at 388-6565 or by e-mail at sports@losbanosenterprise.com

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