Campos, who began taking swimming lessons at 2 and was competing in races at 5, says she switched to water polo when she was about 7. Last summer, she was named to the U.S. Youth National Water Polo Team. Schneider says Campos is the most experienced player on the Cardinals’ roster, and it has paid off handsomely. “Her calmness, her maturity, her knowledge of the game has been huge for us,” Schneider said. “She always steps up biggest in big games, like last year’s final.” When Whittier competed in the Irvine Southern California championships over the weekend, Campos earned all-tournament honors as the Cardinals posted a 2-3 record. All of their opponents were Division I teams, including losses to Corona del Mar (No. 2), Newport Harbor (No. 4) and Coronado (No. 1 in the San Diego Section). In Monday’s Del Rio League makeup game against El Rancho, the only other team unbeaten in league, she scored two goals and had an assist despite drawing intense defensive pressure. For now, her sights are set on a second CIF title. The Cardinals’ chances for success are good, and Campos is one of the reasons why. [email protected] (562) 698-0955, Ext. 3046 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! Cardinals coach Chris Schneider says that means “she’s a driver, a 2-meter set, a 2-meter defender, pretty much anywhere we need her.” He acknowledged she probably would be a standout in goal, too, saying, “That’s true, she is that versatile.” Campos has been an important part of Whittier’s program since she transferred from Montebello after her freshman season. She promptly helped the Cardinals win the CIF-Southern Section Division III championship in her sophomore year. Last season, when Whittier finished as runner-up to Ayala, she scored six goals in the championship game. This season, she has scored a team-leading 84 goals and Whittier has been ranked No. 1 in the division from the start. WHITTIER – Watching Whittier High School water polo standout Mary Ann Campos struggle to reach a ball while an opponent seems intent on pushing her underwater, it is easy to understand why she says playing the hole set position can be difficult. Actually, it could be a gross understatement. “It’s just the way the game is,” said Campos, a 5-foot-6 senior who is spending most of her time as the Cardinals’ 2-meter hole set this season. “Holding my position (in the water) is difficult because I’m smaller than most of the (2-meter defenders). I have to work harder. Yes, it’s frustrating, but I just have to turn away, shake it off.” Campos has played every position except goalkeeper during her three seasons with the Cardinals, fulfilling a utility role for the team.