Season preview: Boys’ water polo team looks for chemistry

Samuel Desré, Author

Junior Winston Rosati takes a shot at practice. Photo by George Lu.
Junior Winston Rosati takes a shot at practice. Photo by George Lu.

After making it to the Central Coast Section semi-finals last year, the Palo Alto High School boys’ water polo team (24-6, 10-2) is hoping to have another successful season.

Originally, the Vikings were under the impression that they would not have access to the Paly pool this season due to the gym construction. However, the construction was delayed, which benefits the team, according to Head Coach Brandon Johnson.

“It’s an huge advantage [to still have the pool],” Johnson said. “It would have been quite difficult to drive to different pools every day to practice.”

The water polo players share Johnson’s sentiments about having a home pool this year.

“Having the pool this season is massive for the team,” junior driver Ryan Reed said. “We all thought that it would be unavailable, and the thought of having to practice away from home brought a negative feeling to many of my teammates.”

The team will need to adapt after graduating 14 seniors last year. However, the Vikings are not expecting those departures to have a huge effect on their level of play.

“Though losing 14 is tough, this year’s squad has the potential to exceed what was accomplished last year,”senior captain Lukas Novak said. “The biggest challenge will be seeing if the team can build the same chemistry it did last year.”

According to Novak, Paly is not the only team that lost key players.

“Every team besides Gunn [High School] will be weaker than it was in the previous year,” Novak said.

The main weakness of the Paly team, according to both Reed and Novak, is the bench depth. Only seven remaining players were on full varsity last season.

Even after losing so many players, the Vikings still have high goals for the upcoming season.

“Our goal is to make CCS like we did last year,” Johnson said.

However, Novak says the team’s ability to succeed will depend on its ability to play together, making the level of success hard to predict.

The team’s first game will be held against Monta Vista High School at 6:45 p.m. on Sept. 18 at home.