Updated November 3rd 2023
All our practice groups are assigned and led by the coaching staff, age- and skill-appropriate. The winter season runs from November 29, 2023 to February 11, 2024. See the information above for schedules.
We are subject to all applicable state and local orders concerning health and safety and will abide by them as well as USA Water Polo and USA SafeSport best practices and guidelines concerning athlete safety. We are a USAWP BOKRIM-accredited club.
The Lions are a USA Water Polo registered club, currently structured to accommodate and train girls in the 18-under, 16-under, 14-under, and 12-under age groups. We offer Trial memberships for new/younger players who have no experience but want to try the sport, which are free and last 14 days.
All our ongoing players will have at least Bronze Athlete status with USA Water Polo, meaning they can play in any local or regional competitions. In addition, we offer Silver Athlete and Gold Athlete status, which provides playing opportunities in national and/or Junior Olympic competitions. The Lions are part of the Midwest Zone in USA Water Polo, consisting of several states including Missouri.
Coach Boesch is from Topeka, Kansas. When she became 6 years old, she moved to St. Louis where she began swimming/diving and playing water polo her 7th grade year of middle school and continued playing in high school at Parkway South. She was a part of the 1st ever All Girls Tournament in Missouri back in 2008, where she was a goalie and a captain for her team.
After high school, she went on to accept a scholarship to play water polo at Lindenwood University for 2 years. During her time at LU, she received the All American Scholar Athlete award for both years. Her career and style of play really took off during those years as she gained so much knowledge and progressed in her skill playing with different players all around the world.
During her time at Lindenwood University, she starting coaching water polo at John Burroughs School as the head JV coach for water polo, and also coached swimming and diving as an assistant coach as well. She is very dedicated to the development of players and believes that building the character of the person is just as important as developing the skills of the player. She also believes that anyone who is willing to get up, try, and keep moving, with hard work and dedication, you will succeed.
Born and raised on the west coast, Coach Castillo has been playing water polo for 7 years. Her water polo career began in Portland, Oregon as she became one of the most decorated players in the state's history at Lincoln High. She earned player of the year in the State of Oregon. After her freshman year, her family moved to Southern California which only further strengthened her water polo skills. Her club career skyrocketed, as she played Olympians, as well as the best club programs in the country. After her continued high school and club success, she accepted a full scholarship to play at The University of California-Irvine, ranked in the top five Division 1 water polo programs in the United States.
She graduated in 2020 with a Bachelors of Science in Educational Sciences.
After graduating she decided to follow her family to St. Louis to help out during the pandemic. Once things started getting back to normal she was able to continue her educational background by finding a job as a family nanny in the St. Louis area. She is continuing to grow in the educational community and hopes to explore more of what St. Louis has to offer. She is excited to be a part of the Lions and help grow women’s water polo in Missouri, the community and around the world.
Coach Clay has been involved with water polo since beginning playing as an 8th grader in 1998. He played high school water polo at Parkway North High School in St. Louis county, before playing college club water polo at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, serving as captain/coach during his junior and senior seasons.
Coach Clay began coaching the Ladue JV water polo team during the 2011 season. In 2015 he assumed the varsity coaching duties and has been head coach of the program since. Highlights during his ten years at Ladue include three Final Four appearances (2011 as an assistant, 2017, 2018), two championship appearances (2011, 2017), and earning Missouri Water Polo Coach of the Year in 2018.
Coach Clay strongly believes that relationship building, character development, and commitment to developing players of all ability levels creates the best possible experience for players. He wants all of his players to reach their highest potential as polo players by teaching skills, developing confidence, and enhancing character traits.
Coach Jagodzinski is from Homer Glen, Illinois where he began swimming and playing water polo his freshman year of high school. After high school he went on to play water polo at Lindenwood University for 3 years, helping the team win two CWPA D1 national championships. During his time at Lindenwood he began coaching water polo at Ladue Horton Watkins High School as the head JV coach. After graduating in 2018 with a BA in mathematics he added on the additional responsibilities of coaching the girls swimming team and teaching mathematics at Ladue. He and Sakura Gavin led the Lions 16-U Black team to 7th in Platinum at the Dallas JOs in 2022.
He is very dedicated to the growth and development of players from a variety of backgrounds and believes anyone who puts in time can be successful at the sport.
As a swimmer for the first 13 years of her life, Coach Jelliss started water polo her freshman year at Parkway North High School. For four years she and a few others worked hard to encourage more women to join the team and in 2021 became part of the first high school all-girls team along with Lafayette, Ladue, Oakville and Marquette. She also took part in an all-girls game her freshman and sophomore year, as well as a girls tournament her sophomore year. She went on to join the St. Louis Lions and played for their first 18u Junior Olympics team in 2021. She aged out the very next year and has been coaching for the Lions ever since! She currently attends Saint Louis University.
Coach Manga has spent her life near the water, first as a competitive swimmer and then water polo player growing up in Florida. She has been involved with water polo since the 1990s when she played high school water polo in Orlando, FL where she was an All-District, All-State and Academic All-American player. She also played collegiate club and masters water polo as an adult. She moved to St. Louis in 2010; she now calls Kirkwood home with her two children and husband, Ben. She also serves as the CEO for the women’s health nonprofit Gateway to Hope.
A life-long athlete and now enthusiastic swimmer and marathoner, Coach Manga understands the impact that sport can have for young women in all aspects of their lives. She is passionate about creating a positive environment for girls and women to compete, develop and grow as athletes - and as people. She aims to create opportunities for girls and women to make water polo and athletics a life-long endeavor and is honored to be a part of the St. Louis Lions mission.
Coach Claire Maniscalco grew up in the St. Louis area. She played club water polo for Mad Dog, swam for the Rockwood Swim Club and swam and played water polo at Marquette High School.
Since high school, she has been a Rockwood Swim Coach for 12 years. She is the head water polo coach at Marquette High School, after being an assistant coach for 3 years. In 2021, with Marquette high school, Maniscalco helped coach the girls team to Missouri's first-ever girls state championship and received the honor of Coach of the Year for the female conference. She coached the girls to a second place championship in 2022 and 2023. In 2023 she received conference female co-coach of the year.
Coach Maniscalco also coaches boys swimming for Lafayette high school and is a member of the Missouri Water Polo Board and the High School Water Polo Board.
She has been with the St. Louis Lions since fall 2021, where she has coached many female athletes and coached teams at the Junior Olympics. Coach Maniscalco is excited to be a part of Missouri's only all-female water polo club and dedicated to the growth of the sport!
Coach Peglar was born and raised in St. Louis and started his 50-year involvement with water polo as part of the Missouri State Champion team at Ladue High in 1973. He graduated from Wash. U, in St. Louis, with a B.S. in Computer Science, as well as two years of graduate CS study, while playing and refereeing high school, college & club polo, including national-level tournaments.
He is a certified USA Water Polo coach and referee. He and Mike Clay led the Lions 16-U team to a top-16 finish at the 2021 Junior Olympics in Dallas. He was honored with the USA Water Polo Distinguished Volunteer Award in 2022 for the Midwest Zone.
He is the head water polo coach at Kirkwood High School, leading them to three consecutive state Elite Eight finishes including the silver medal in the 2021 championship final. He was named Missouri Water Polo Coach of the Year in 2021. He is also the head coach of boys and girls swimming and diving at Ladue, guiding them to multiple top-ten team placements at the Missouri Class 1 State Championships.
He founded and leads the Lions for the purpose of growing girls' water polo in St. Louis, and beyond, and is dedicated to seeing student/athletes mature and become outstanding young people.
Coach von Yeast is a 2022 graduate from Parkway North High School. She started playing water polo in 2019 before becoming Co-captain of the first ever all-girls Parkway North water polo team in 2021.
During high school, she started playing with St. Louis Area Polo in 2019 before joining the St. Louis Lions in 2020.
Coach von Yeast currently attends Drexel University in Philadelphia, PA, where she continues to play water polo on a club team.