Boys’ water polo season preview: a year of seniors

Molly Fogarty, Author

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After going deep into the 2012 sectional playoffs last season, the Palo Alto High School boys’ water polo team is poised to continue their success as the 2013 season kicks off next month.

The team of 22 players is led by 14 seniors, a staggering number compared to past years’ team.

“As upperclassmen we all need to set an example and really show them what it means to be on a varsity sport here at Paly.” senior captain Ethan Look said.

Due to the competitive nature of Paly varsity sports, leadership plays an important role in shaping a team, according to Look.

“Our coach Brandon Johnson expects that all seniors are leaders,” Look said. “We do have three captains but all seniors are expected to be there, be present in practices, and be leaders within the team.”

Even the seniors who are not captains need to serve as role-models to the other players on the team, according to senior J.J. Kadifa.

“We need to serve as an example to the younger water polo players,” Kadifa said.

With the loss of last year’s six seniors, the team is experiencing a shift in strategy for this season.

“We really need to reconcentrate as a team and create a new strategy when it comes to how we are going to play this year. … We are hoping to go deep into the league tournament,” Look said.

The seniors who graduated last year played a crucial role in taking the team to the Central Coast Section quarterfinals where they lost to Bellarmine. Without them, the Vikings are going to take each game as it comes with high hopes to go far with their strong group of seniors, according to Look.

“We are just trying to win as many league games as we can, qualify for C.C.S., and go from there,” head coach Brandon Johnson said.

The team’s first game will be held against crosstown rival Henry M. Gunn High School at 3:30 p.m. Sept. 17 at home.