Mater Dei water polo player Penny Mauser dedicates ‘every game’ to late mother Christina

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Penny Mauser and her teammates on the Mater Dei girls water polo team play their biggest match of the season Saturday in the CIF-SS Open Division final.

But for Mauser, every game carries added significance because of how she honors her late mother Christina Mauser.

“Every game I play is for her,” the sophomore attacker said after her four-goal performance in the Open Division semifinals. “Big games likes this, I just lay out everything on the line and I know that she is here with me and I know she is watching over me.”

Christina was one of the nine people killed in the helicopter crash in January 2020 that included Lakers legend Kobe Bryant. The former Edison athlete of the year served as Bryant’s top assistant coach on his Mambas youth girls basketball team.

Mauser played basketball growing up but now focuses on water polo. She emerged this winter as arguably Mater Dei’s most improved player, helping the team advance to the section final against Orange Lutheran at Mt. SAC at 12:10 p.m.

Mater Dei coach Chris Segesman said Mauser was earmarked to play on the junior varsity team but received a chance with the varsity after an injury to junior Charli Krotts.

“Last tournament of the fall season, I saw something,” Segesman said of Mauser. “I just really liked the way she played and Charli Krotts got hurt. … (and) Penny has filled that spot awesome.”

Mauser has strong bloodlines in aquatics. Her father Matt played collegiate water polo at Golden West College and swam at Cal Poly SLO.

“With genetics like (my mother) and my dad’s, I can count on that all the time,” Mauser said. “(My dad) has had the biggest influence on my life water polo-wise.”

“He’s always telling me these little details, even the details that coach Chris tells me,” she added. “I always had this urge for water polo. My heart was always with water polo, and my mom knew that.”

So Mauser plays on Saturday, for her mom and Mater Dei.

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