The Palo Alto High School boys’ water polo team (12-13, 8-6) looks improve and change its mentality next year after an unfortunate end to its season.
Despite earning a first round bye, the Vikings’ season ended after falling to Saint Francis High School last Saturday in the Central Coast Section Quarterfinal, 15-4. Last year, the team exited the playoffs one stage earlier.
Junior Jared Stanley said he thought that the team could have done better in the CCS playoffs.
“The past season went very well, but we were hoping to get a little bit further in CCS,” Stanley said. “It was disappointing to lose in the quarterfinals of CCS. It was also disappointing to not perform as we had expected to in the league tournament as we were hoping to play in the league final.”
Junior Andrew Jozefov said that a lack of focus from the team ultimately led to its loss.
“We had a few dedicated guys who performed well this year,” Jozefov said. “We didn’t necessarily have everyone on the team working with the same mentality, which didn’t exactly help the team.”
Jozefov said that the Vikings will have high goals going into next season.
“Next year we plan on winning leagues and beating Gunn [High School] in league play,” Jozefov said. “Hopefully we can earn a good seed for CCS and get a bye into the semis so we have a solid chance at making some good things happen against some of the top private schools.”
Despite losing eight seniors including Kevin Bowers, Justyn Cheung, Christian Laurence, Ryan Reed, Luke Coleman, Cameron Kahn and Winston Rosati, the Vikings are very optimistic for the future and believe they will have the experience necessary to do well in the CCS playoffs next year. According to Stanley, the team will have a majority of senior starters as there are many current juniors who can step up. However, even though the team will have enough experience, Stanley recognized the importance of the team’s mentality.
“We will have almost a full senior starting lineup next year and as a result hope to definitely be serious contenders for CCS finals,” Stanley said. “In order to do so we need to practice hard in the off season and treat every game like it’s our last.