With a record of 11-0 in league, the boys’ water polo team beat Paly in the Santa Clara Valley Athletic League (SCVAL) championship over the weekend and earned the #2 seed in Division 1 for Central Coast Section (CCS). “It is an exciting time of the year,” Coach Matthew Johnson said, “our goal is to live in the moment. Treat every game like it’s the finals.”
Boys’ water polo coach Johnson believes that with some improvements, the team make it far into CCS. “We have the potential to be one of the best teams in the state, and we have flashed that talent here and there but it hasn’t been consistent enough,” Johnson said. With the competition coming soon, the water polo team has begun amping up its preparation for CCS. ”We are fine-tuning some things to make sure we are playing sharp, smart polo,” Johnson said. “We are working a lot on defense, and this has been a focus all year.” By focusing on these points, Johnson hopes the team will have a better focus on defense and consistent play.
Along with the coach, players have been setting goals to improve their performance and skills. “Our goal every practice and every game is to improve and learn from our mistakes,” attacker Thanh Nguyen said. “We often watch footage of our games to highlight the parts of our game that need improvement.” One weakness the team is working to improve on is their focus. “We often get sucked into the flow of the opposing team, making it much harder to win,” Nguyen said. “If we can play at our own pace and force the other team to follow us then we can dominate even in CCS.” According to Nguyen, the team’s strength going into CCS is its awareness and ability to take quick action throughout the game of the game. “Everyone is paying attention to the whole game around them and not just the player in front of them,” Nguyen said. “This enables the whole team to play faster, smarter and ultimately at a higher level.”
Attacker Quinn Hamilton believes the team has come far, “We have improved so much since the beginning of the year,” Hamilton said. “Our center, [junior] Aaron [Babian], has really become a force to be reckoned with.”
The first game is on Saturday, Nov. 5 versus the winner of Los Gatos v. Santa Teresa.