The Palo Alto High School boys’ water polo team (16-11, 12-2) ended its season Saturday with a 9-8 loss to Menlo-Atherton (15-15, 5-1) in the first round of the Central Coast Section playoffs.
Despite taking a quick 4-1 lead in the first quarter, the Vikings failed to finish the match strong.
Senior field player Jared Stanley is regretful of the loss.
“Our offense and defense really clicked the first half and we were playing really well” Stanley said. “We got off to a quick lead but lost our focus near the end of the game.”
With a 7-3 lead after two quarters, the Vikings struggled defensively, letting in three more goals in the third quarter.
Senior field player Tommy Smale describes the struggles offensively and defensively.
“After the second quarter we started to fall apart,” Smale said. “Our offense wasn’t moving the ball as well and we were taking a lot more outside shots rather than going in. Defensively, we were not as strong either.”
The Vikings continued to struggle in the fourth quarter losing the match 9-8.
Despite the loss, senior field player Ethan Bundy said he was proud of the team.
“Although we lost today I am super proud of our team,” said Bundy. “We have improved so much from where we started and we grew individually and as a team throughout the season.”
The Vikings will lose over half of the team next season to graduation, but the team is still optimistic about the future, according to Stanley.
“The juniors stepped up a ton this season so I think the team will be just fine,” Stanley said. “We [the seniors] taught them well.”
Some players to look out for next season are juniors Mathew Nemeth, Benjamin Rapperport and John Andersen according to Stanley.