Water Polo Wins Mission League

Water Polo Wins Mission League

Shooters Shoot: Nicholas Tierney ’20 shoots against the Newport Harbor High School defense in an 11-9 loss on Homecoming. Credit: Jaidev Pant/Chronicle

After completing the regular season with an overall record of 24-2 and winning a Mission League title, the boys’ water polo team looks to continue its success as they head into CIF playoffs.

“Our team’s success comes from grinding every day at practice,” Center Christopher Arakelian ’23 said. “We work to improve ourselves every rep, every day and every game.”

First Two Losses 

The squad competed in the Elite Eight Water Polo Tournament, where it faced Newport High School in the finals. After outscoring the Sailors 5-2 in the first half, the team defeated its rivals 9-8 to become champions. In a home rematch against Newport Harbor High School Oct. 12, the squad experienced its first defeat of the year, losing 11-9 in the homecoming matchup.

The team then traveled to Northern California for the annual North-South tournament. The Wolverines reached the finals, where they faced Mission League rival Loyola High School for the second time this season. The squad fell to the Cubs 8-7 Oct. 19, marking its second loss of the season.

“We were obviously disappointed that we lost, but we were winning for most of the game, and knew that was a game we should have won,” goalkeeper Jake Engelberg ’21 said. “We knew what we had to improve, and spent the next two weeks working on it. I think we were motivated to win our league, and getting a home game in the first round of playoffs.”

After finishing second in the North-South tournament, the squad played in two away games, defeating Mater Dei High School 12-7 Oct. 22 and Santa Margarita High School 15-7 Oct. 26.

End of Regular Season

To end the regular season, the Wolverines faced Loyola at home in the Mission League championship Oct. 29. At this point in the season, both teams held undefeated records in league play. After securing three empty-net goals, the Wolverines took the lead in the second half, winning the match 12-7 and earning their 21st Mission League title.

Playoffs

Goalkeeper Asher Schwartz ’21 said that despite the big win, the team must focus on the challenges it has yet to face.

“Obviously it was great to beat our rivals in our home pool, but right now we have our heads down going into playoffs, and we’re working hard because we’re about to go into the most rigorous part of the year,” Schwartz said. “Our goal has always been to win a CIF championship, and it’s time to make that happen.”

The boys entered CIF playoffs as the number one seed, defeating Mater Dei in the first round of playoffs 11-3. The team will play in the semi-finals against Huntington Beach High School Nov. 13.

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