By Matt Wakamoto & Cole Cahill
Photos by Thomas Forman
The boys’ varsity water polo team returned to their home water with dominance, on Thursday, September 1, defeating the Pasadena Poly Panthers by a score of 21-8. They were able to establish their lead early in the game, outscoring the Panthers 8-2 in the first quarter. Even as the lead expanded, the Tigers continued to play tough defense in the first half and finished out the match with a secured victory.
With players like senior Kinan Rodriguez forcing turnovers, the Tigers were able to enforce their tough defense and open up the counter attack offense. The team showed no hesitation in exercising their experience and team chemistry with excellent ball movement on the first fast break. The combination of seniors DJ Myer, Spencer Gurley, and Leo Sonner were seemingly unstoppable when they found themselves facing the Panther defense. They passed and sliced through Poly’s unbalanced guarding to score easily. Even when Poly slowed them down, they could not keep pace with the Tigers’ ball movement.
Senior Spencer Gurley led the team in scoring with five points, alongside Myer and senior Nic Madrigal, who both scored three times. The team was able to show their depth, with ten different players scoring in the game. The large lead allowed the team to play subs, who entered the game with mainly good results. Notably, new additions to the varsity roster such as freshman Evan Kowal, sophomore Philip Lee, and juniors Owen Carlson, and Andreas Limon were able to score off the bench.
South Pasadena made nothing easy on defense either; their press defense kept the Poly offense looking slow and disorganized. Senior goal keeper Robbie Decker was also a tremendous asset in deflecting shots and having a strong presence inside the cage.
“I feel very comfortable with our team and have high expectations for our potential achievements,” said Chon. ”It was a good game to open the season with.”
The Tigers continued to pound as the game progressed. Even with heavy utilization of backup players and a transition into a drop back defense, they continued to score and defend their lead. However, head varsity coach Michael Gonzales saw room for improvement even in a highly successful game.
“I loved the effort and attitude,” said Coach Michael Gonzales, “but we still have a lot to clean up with a long season ahead of us.”
The boys will prepare to face Brea Olinda High School at home on Wednesday, September 7, who is set to be one of the Tigers’ many challenging opponents this season.