It has been a successful season for the boys’ varsity water polo team, and they are now looking forward to competing in the Santa Clara Valley Athletic League (SCVAL) and Central Coast Section (CCS) tournaments, following a 7-5-0 league record.
On Oct. 23, the water polo team held a “Senior Recognition” to honor the achievements of the seniors throughout the season, before playing a game against Los Altos. This game was controversial because during overtime, a Los Altos player created a foul, which normally would have caused the game to continue the game in overtime. However, the referees thought that the clock should have started running earlier, and that therefore the game time had expired, and Paly lost 12-11.
Many players were upset because they felt that the referees had been unfair to the Paly side. However, most were happy with their overall performance in the game against Los Altos.
“The senior game versus Los Altos was a great game,” junior player Omri Newman said. “I think that was the best game we played as a team all year [because] our intensity was high and our morale was up.”
After this controversial game, Paly played Gunn on Oct. 25, beating them 10-8. This was their last game before the SCVAL tournament, which will start on Nov. 1.
Throughout the season, the water polo team has performed well in their league games.
“I think the team has exceeded everyone’s expectations,” coach Brandon Johnson said. “The [players] came in ready to work and compete at their highest level this year.”
As the team approaches the SCVAL and CCS tournaments, the coaches continue to have high hopes, and they believe that the team has a good chance of winning.
“There is never a game we go into thinking we can’t win,” Johnson said. “Obviously we have to take it one game at a time and not look too far ahead, but we feel that if we play together and play our style of water polo we are a very tough team to beat.”
One of the greatest strengths of the team this year is that the players are faster than most other schools.
“Our strength has to be our speed,” Johnson said. “We have a ton of guys who can get up and down the pool in a hurry, so we try and use that to our advantage.”
However, the players often have trouble communicating with each other, which puts them at a disadvantage at the start of games.
“The biggest weakness is that we have very weak starts,” Newman said. “We can’t seem to work together as a team until the second quarter, which usually leaves us behind by a few goals.”
Although the team tends to start slow, the players are often able to fight back and beat the opposing team.
“We are always able to fight our way back into a game,” Newman said. “We are almost always successful in bouncing back and taking the win.”
Also, the team coaches, Matt and Brandon Johnson, dedicated a lot of time towards improving each player’s skills throughout the season.
“The coaches this season were phenomenal,” Newman said. “They were everything I could ask for. I’ve become a way better player under their coaching.”
In addition, team captains Nolan Perla-Ward, Quinn Rockwell and Bret Pinsker helped improve the team’s communication and raised their morale before the games.
“Our captains are also great,” Newman said. “They work together with each other as well as with the coaches.”
In addition, the captains have set a good example and have helped direct the team, which was useful for the first year coaches.
“The three [captains], along with the other three seniors set the example for the younger guys with their work ethic and competitiveness,” Johnson said. “They really want the team to be successful.”
However, since the team captains and several other valuable players are graduating, the team will have to step up their game next season.
“Next year I want to show the other schools in our league that you can never mess with the Vikings,” Newman said.