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VALLEY / VENTURA COUNTY SPORTS | GIRLS' WATER POLO
PLAYER OF THE YEAR / DEDE PERRAM

She Led Way as Agoura Hit a High Watermark

April 12, 2001|DARIN ESPER | TIMES STAFF WRITER

DeDe Perram's mother, Linda DeRossett, insisted her daughter find a sport to participate in at Agoura High.

Perram, who put the shot 28 feet, 10 1/4 inches as a 10-year old competing for the Las Virgenes Track Club, dropped track before enrolling at Agoura because she did not like to run, so DeRossett suggested water polo.

When Perram agreed, neither mother nor daughter would have guessed that in four short years Perram would hone her game to a point that she would help her team to a Southern Section championship and be selected Division II player of the year.

"She told me to swim or play polo," Perram said. "I loved to swim all of my life, and I figured polo was the next step after swimming. If my mom hadn't made me do a sport, I wouldn't have played polo."

Perram, The Times' regional player of the year, had 80 goals, 35 assists and 36 steals.

Her greatest contributions were not her personal statistics, however.

"She's definitely a player, she doesn't like to lose," said Agoura Coach Jason Rosenthal. "We've had times when her teammates have gotten mad at her because she's so intense and so focused on the game."

Joanna Antonsen, the Chargers' captain who was named All-Division II for the second consecutive season, said: "All the teams know who DeDe Perram is, whether it's the red hair or her fast shot.

"She has a unique backhand; the goalies on the other teams never really expect it. They do know she has an awesome backhand, but [they still] are not prepared when she shoots it."

Rosenthal said the extra attention paid Perram in the form of double- and triple-team defenses created opportunities for teammates.

Perram, who has accepted a partial scholarship to UC Irvine, made her biggest contribution by doing whatever Rosenthal asked.

"She likes to shoot the ball, don't get me wrong, but she'll do whatever it takes to win the game," Rosenthal said.

"For the most part, she was a pretty coachable kid."

Said Perram: "That's how you have to be on a team. I do whatever I can to win and play to what needs to be played."

In a 10-1 section semifinal victory over Ventura, Rosenthal installed an offense that alternated Perram and Colleen Schiman at holeset, and Perram responded with three goals.

In the 5-2 championship victory over Santa Barbara, Perram was held scoreless as she again alternated with Schiman at holeset.

"She came into the corner at the end of the third [quarter with the score tied, 2-2] and flat out said: 'I am not losing to this team again,' " Rosenthal said.

After her teammates suggested she should have said "We" instead of "I," Perram returned to the water and joined teammate Erica Clark in shouting loudly as possible in an attempt to get even more fired up.

"That's the kind of player she is," Rosenthal said. "She was going to be involved to the end."

Perram, who Antonsen said sings and dances on the pool deck while introducing herself to everybody in sight before and after games, is humble about the accolades.

"I myself don't think I deserve player of the year," Perram said. "There are people out there that are so much better than me. Joanna was team overall MVP this year, and it's nice to look up at that. It helps everybody push each other."

Perram, who would like to become a teacher, credits playing water polo with her personal development.

"I like the whole mind-set of being in a game and doing anything you can to win and the aggression you get from it," Perram said. "I really like having goals I set for myself.

"Every game is a goal, even in swimming and in life itself. From polo, I've learned how to manage my life."

(BEGIN TEXT OF INFOBOX / INFOGRAPHIC)

The Top 5

Final rankings of girls' water polo teams in the region

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Rk School Rec. 1 Agoura 27-4 2 Harvard-Westlake 19-7 3 Crescenta Valley 28-3 4 Ventura 17-8 5 Royal 21-8

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