Boys Water Polo’s splash-tacular season

REJECTED%21%3A+Eyes+on+the+ball+and+hands+ready%2C+senior+goalie+Adrian+Fontao+deflects+the+other+team%E2%80%99s+shot.
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Boys Water Polo’s splash-tacular season

REJECTED!: Eyes on the ball and hands ready, senior goalie Adrian Fontao deflects the other team’s shot.

REJECTED!: Eyes on the ball and hands ready, senior goalie Adrian Fontao deflects the other team’s shot.

Michael Huang

REJECTED!: Eyes on the ball and hands ready, senior goalie Adrian Fontao deflects the other team’s shot.

Michael Huang

Michael Huang

REJECTED!: Eyes on the ball and hands ready, senior goalie Adrian Fontao deflects the other team’s shot.

Mei Ono, Staff Writer

Whizz—the yellow polo ball flies out of the hands of the shooter, sending streaks of water behind it in its curved path. It spins past the goalie’s fingertips and slams into the net as cheers erupt from the spectators. The Northwood Varsity Boys Water Polo finished 22-11 after making it to the CIF State Championships, concluding a successful season.

Towards the beginning of their season, the team had to learn an entirely new offensive strategy after losing several seniors from last year. Still, they continued to hone their skills and gained momentum leading into the CIF playoffs.

“Even though I’ve gone to CIF my previous three years, it’s still nerve-racking and I still get some butterflies,” Boys Water Polo Captain senior Max Abravanel said. “It helps me to remind myself that whether we win or lose, we had a great season.”

The team endured hard practices in the morning including most Saturdays from 6-10 a.m. and every day after school from 2-4:30 p.m. Their hard work has paid off greatly for the past several years, as they made it to the second round of CIFSC for Division III in 2017, the quarterfinals last year and successfully sustained the four-year streak of entering CIFSC.

“Water polo is so difficult just because of how demanding it is and how much time is needed in order for the team to be competitive,” sophomore Leonardo Giessmann said.

The last semifinals game against Santa Barbara took place at Irvine High School on Nov. 13, where the team ended with a close 9-10 despite their 6-point deficit going into the last quarter.

“Any other team would have buckled from the pressure and would have given up,” Water Polo Head Coach Kyle Kim said. “But the boys kept their heads up and stayed focused. Although it didn’t result in a win for us, it was one of the most exciting and best quarters of water polo that we played all season long and also earned us a berth to the CIF State Championship tournament.”

The team faced Steele Canyon High School for the CIF Southern Section State Championships in a hard-fought match at Ocean View High School on Nov. 22. Both teams scored back-to-back until the end of the second quarter, where Northwood got in the lead by two points. However, after a series of turnovers and difficult shots by Steele Canyon, Northwood lost 17-11.

The Boys Water Polo aims to win their league and compete in the CIFSS next season as well to continue their successful streak of competitive seasons.