Diving into boys water polo

After losing out on the city championships last season, the boys water polo team is ready to roar back with full force.
SHARK IN THE WATER Left wing Wyatt Lee displays his dominance as he prepares for his next shot.
SHARK IN THE WATER Left wing Wyatt Lee displays his dominance as he prepares for his next shot.

Last season, the boys water polo team dominated the league with a flawless 8-0 record.

But their city championship dreams were dashed by a 16-12 upset from Eagle Rock High in the playoff opener. This year, the Wolves are hungrier than ever, eyeing both the league title and city crown.

“We are even more determined to go far because we want to give a good send off to our many seniors in their final season,” Varsity captain and driver Diego Serrano said.

The team’s first game took place on the last day of August. Their eyes were set on taking down the Los Angeles Center for Enriched Studies (CES) Unicorns. Although they fought hard to keep up with the opposing team, their momentum ultimately depleted, resulting in a 13-7 loss.

“This loss didn’t affect our standings, but actually served as a judgment on what we are capable and not capable of doing,” Serrano said. “Specifically from this game, it told us that we need to hustle more on offense and defense mainly because of the big number of players they have compared to us.”

Despite the loss, the boys used this as an opportunity to identify their weaknesses and strengths. One of the biggest strengths they have is that most of the team are full of experienced players who know the game very well.

“I think that one of our weaknesses is relying on the star players to handle the game, which leads to a lack of hustle on everyone’s part,” Serrano said. “But now, we learned from this and now discipline ourselves heavily.”

To make their dreams a reality, the water polo team practiced all throughout the summer. One of the biggest challenges was building up chemistry between returning players and newcomers.

“It is important that we are all well-coordinated,” Serrano said. “Coordination is one of the key parts that lead to winning, especially when we face off against difficult teams.”

Some of the seasons’ star Varsity players are center Ivan Rubtsov, point Vincent Cheung, right wing Aiden Smith, left wing Wyatt Lee, right driver Spencer Espinoza and, of course, Serrano. They have been crucial to the team’s success.

‘I noticed that my friendships with my teammates off the court have helped a lot with our chemistry in game, allowing us to defeat our opponents more easily,” Serrano said.

Due to the fact that most of the players are seniors, the team has been fixated on improving the newcomers’ skills and conditioning. They need to train them as much as possible so that the lowerclassmen can fill the seniors’ shoes next year.

“We have many seniors this season, so we need more training for all the upcoming students that will fill their spots,” Serrano said. “Starting the hard work now will be great for them in the long run, greatly preparing them for the next season.”

The boys attend practice every weekday at six in the morning, where they run through their routine drills. It’s all about improving their strength, conditioning, skill and technique.

“Even though these morning practices are a hassle, we are all stern but also keep practices fun so more people are more motivated to come to these early practices,” Serrano said.

Making the absolute most out of their season, the water polo team is currently undefeated in their league. Their most notable wins were a score of 21-4 against the Panorama Pythons on Oct. 2, and a nail-biting 10-6 victory against the Kennedy Cougars on Oct. 9. Their hefty abilities to capitalize on breaks and turnovers played a huge role in coming out victorious in these games.

Although their season is going almost perfectly so far, it is no reason to relax.

“Our undefeated streak isn’t an excuse to stop, but a reason to keep pushing forward,” Serrano said. “We know that the season will only get harder.” 

The team considers Coach George Davancens integral to their success.

“We all value our coach deeply because he is constantly trying his hardest to develop our team and each individual’s skills, also showing us great support during practices and games,” Serrano said.

In November, their first playoff game will take place. After getting cut from the tournament too early last season, the Wolves are seeking retribution.

“I was very devastated after losing the first game of the playoffs last season,” Smith said. “My team and I are very determined to make it further into the playoffs, and we are practicing hard almost every day to make this a reality to give myself and the other seniors a good send off.”

Although no home games take place for water polo, the boys encourage the school community to support them by attending future away games.

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About the Contributor
Jaden Gervacio
From watching sports to playing them, I have always been inclined to write about the new athletic events that occur at our school. As a sophomore at Van Nuys High, I am going into my second year of journalism, not just to write about the games, but to uncover the background and details of the talented athletes that play them. Whenever I’m not on my laptop typing about an athlete or game, I am trying to perfect leche flan.
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