Recap: Boys’ water polo fails to clinch CCS playoff berth

    Senior Jack Andersen drowns a Harker player while trying to prevent a shot on goal. [quote from jack]. Paly stepped up their intensity in the second half, outscoring Harker by four goals, and won comfortably, 9-5. Photo by Benner Mullin

    Senior Jack Andersen drowns a Harker player while trying to prevent a shot on goal on Sept. 19 at Palo Alto High School. Paly stepped up their intensity in the second half, outscoring Harker by four goals, and won comfortably, 9-5. Photo by Benner Mullin

    After a grueling final two weeks of the season, the Palo Alto boys’ water polo team (10-17, 8-7) fell just short of clinching a postseason berth in the Central Coast Section tournament on Oct. 28, ending its 2017 season.

    In the third round of the Santa Clara Valley Athletic League Tournament, Paly lost to the Lynbrook Vikings (10-12, 6-9), 7-6. Lynbrook was selected as one of the final teams in the CCS Division 1 tournament.

    Senior left driver Bryan Look believes the Vikings would have been selected to make the tournament if they had won their game against Lynbrook.

    “We lost on Saturday and [Lynbrook] made the bracket,” Look said. “It’s fairly clear that if we had won that game then we’d be in.”

    The boys entered the season with high hopes and expectations of another shot at a CCS tournament run, memories of their trip to the SCVAL championship game and CCS berth the previous year still fresh.

    Unfortunately, a few fatal losses in the last week of the regular season erased any chances Paly had of qualifying for the postseason.

    “At the end of the season, we had some issues with going into games against teams that we had already beat and thinking we had the guaranteed win,” junior goalie Ben Rapperport said. “We had to understand that every team is a threat no matter what their record was.”

    The boys ended their season with seven games in about as many days. According to Rapperport, this packed schedule to end the season was detrimental to their overall performance.

    “I think having a game every day for a week really deteriorated our level of play as we got tired and really messed up our season,” Rapperport said. “It was super frustrating but we played hard in every game that week.”

    Next year, Paly will return many key players to its squad, including Rapperport, junior Dexter Gormley, sophomore Ryan Stanley, and freshman Charles Mitz.

    “This year was meant to be a rebuilding year because we only had one returning starter,” Mitz said. “This year was meant to improve the younger players. I️ think that next year we will make it far and do very well because we have two good juniors and a couple good freshman and sophomores…they [the juniors] will make sure everyone is focused and on the same page.”

    According to Mitz, the boys hope to build upon their experiences this season and push for a deep CCS run next year.

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