The Palo Alto High School boys’ water polo team (5-6, 4-3) defeated the Lynbrook High School Vikings (4-6, 2-5),11-8, on Tuesday afternoon at home in an thrilling overtime victory.
The climatic buildup to the intense overtime period started when the game began with two goals by Lynbrook. By the second quarter, Paly was up 7-3, however, the boys lost the lead and were only able to score one more goal by the end of the fourth quarter to tie the match, 8-8. The team was led by senior captain Jack Andersen, who scored a total of five goals throughout the game.
Tensions ran high for both teams as the extra period of overtime began. Parents and students in the Paly stands watched with eager anticipation, which turned to nervousness as senior Bryan Look missed a goal and sophomore Dexter Gormley received a yellow-card violation and was ejected from the game for twenty seconds for a foul. However, the tides turned in Paly’s favor after sophomore Ryan Stanley scored the first goal of the overtime period. The Vikings continued to give it everything they had and scored two more goals, claiming their hard-fought victory and leaving Lynbrook scoreless during the two overtime periods.
After the win, Viking head coach Aaron Johnson had mixed feelings about his team’s performance in the game.
“Overall we’re still playing pretty shaky,” Johnson said. “I’m not upset with the entire game, there were definitely points I was happy with. But we can’t go up by four in a quarter and then have a game go into overtime, so that’s not great.”
Despite the mediocre second quarter, Johnson was pleased with how Paly came back with force in overtime.
“The way we handled overtime, we controlled the entire thing to finish off with a win, which is a positive to finish with,” Johnson said.
Like their coach, the Vikings had conflicting ideas about how they played.
“I think we played really well, I think we realized what the other team was trying to do pretty early on and we stopped them from getting their garbage goals that they kept trying to make, and got forced their bad shooters to shoot,” junior goalie Ben Rapperport said.
Rapperport had many saves during the game that prevented Lynbrook’s goal count from being much higher. His teammate, sophomore Dexter Gormley, who scored two goals during the game, was less pleased with how the team did.
“I think if we had focused more on defense in that quarter, the game would ended a lot quicker,” Gormley said.
The team is nonetheless rejoicing after their victory and will focus on cutting off the opposition early the next time they play Lynbrook.
“I’m hoping we put it away early, and just don’t make it a game late, just finish it off in the first half and [have] smooth sailing,” Johnson said.
The Vikings face off against the undefeated team from Los Altos High School tomorrow at home in a crucial league match that will help determine who makes it to the Santa Clara Valley Athletic League finals.