The Paly Voice

Boys’ water polo season ends abruptly

Nika Woodfill and Samuel Desré

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The Palo Alto High School boys’ water polo (12-13, 9-3) season ended last Thursday with a 10-9 loss to Salinas High School (18-4, 8-2) in Central Coast Section playoff.

The Vikings had a strong first quarter, carried by junior Winston Rosati who scored six goals overall, while the  Vikings’ defense held the Cowboys to just one goal.

The last three quarters, unfortunately for the Vikings, took a different turn.

Salinas quickly recovered, and the game was tied up at the end of the first half.

During the second half, in which both sides used their timeouts, the game was tied until Salinas pulled away with less than a minute remaining. The Vikings were never able to make a comeback.

“We started out well, but we didn’t make the adjustments we had to in the end,” coach Brandon Johnson said. “The team could have been a little more patient. They [Salinas] ran a pretty weird defense, and we gave into what they wanted.”

Even though the team’s season ended on a bitter note, it was extremely successful overall, according to senior captain Lucas Novak. The Vikings tied first place with Gunn High School for the league championship title.

The team season could have been more successful if they had played at a consistent level throughout the season, according to junior driver Ryan Reed.

“We played down [to] the level of our opponents, which has unfortunately been a recurring theme this season,” Reed said. “When we are on our game, we can challenge top North California Section and Central Coast Section teams like Las Lomas and St. Francis but then struggle against teams like Salinas that we should be able to put away in one quarter.”

Still, according to Reed, the team has high hopes for the next season if the Vikings are able to fix this flaw.

“Although we’re losing five excellent seniors this year, next year’s juniors are going to fill their spaces more than capably,” Reed said. “[Underclassmen] Jared Stanley and Nick Russell can become vital players with some more varsity experience.”

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