Photo by Jenna Hickey

Water polo overcomes obstacles

Despite the challenges of a new coach and several injured players, both the boys and girls water polo teams maintain an optimistic attitude for their upcoming games.

New varsity boys water polo coach Bob Greene said the team has graciously welcomed him and is hopeful about their performance.

“I think we’re off to a really good start,” Greene said. “The guys have a really good attitude and are working really hard (and are) focused. The first two and a half weeks (have) been really impressive and I like what I see so far.”

Junior Julien Chow said he is confident in his teammates’ abilities after playing against one another in practice scrimmages.

“We’ve been practicing hard –– everybody is putting in a lot of work,” Chow said. “The season so far is going better than I expected. Our scrimmages against each other were rusty, but we pulled it together.”

Chow and Greene said they are anticipating putting their practice into action in their first official scrimmage with St. Francis High School.

“We need to see how things go right now in practice,” Greene said. “I love what I see. But now, hopefully, we can see that same thing moving forward when we have our first scrimmage.”

Greene said the scrimmage will also mark a turning point in the direction of water polo practices.

“The next week is the first week that we start games, so we’ll be more into situational play,” Greene said. “We’ll really start to diagram out everything that we want to do and make sure that we are all focused on what that play or what that goal is. So next week (we) start a real focus on the game itself.” 

Meanwhile, the girls water polo team has several athletes injured.

“We’re just trying to be cautious, so they haven’t been playing or swimming as much,” sophomore Grace Gormley said. “It’s kind of a bummer because our team is a little smaller now, but we want to make sure that they don’t get injured further so that hopefully they can play later.”

Nonetheless, girls water polo coach Deke Rowell said the team is well prepared to deal with fewer players.

“Injuries are part of sports, unfortunately,” Rowell said. “And the reality is, if we lose a player, you want to have a program that’s consistent enough from top to bottom, so that the next player can fill this big gapand do the best they can. Those players have to be confident that they know what they’re doing.”

The team has played two scrimmages against Menlo-Atherton and Archbishop Mitty, but it has not kept scores.

“It’s really interesting to see what the other teams are doing this year and what we can bring this year,” Gormley said. I think the other teams are quite good, but we were (too) and put up a good fight.”

Rowell said the team’s practices are focused on strength training to prepare for upcoming games.

“Water polo takes a lot of conditioning; it’s a big part of it, to be able to get up and down the pool,” Rowell said. “We’re focusing on that primarily and fundamentals, so we haven’t done too Rowell also said the team is relying on teamwork and cooperation as its strategy for the first game against Castilleja on Sept. 7.

“We don’t have a superstar on this team, a girl who’s going to go on and maybe play at a high level in college,” Rowell said. “So we’re gonna have to rely on really good defense, and a really good team. That’s how we’re going to be successful and be competitive this year.”