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The Paw Print

Boys water polo surges to CIF playoffs but comes up short


The Poly boys water polo team has had a remarkable season, culminating in an outstanding 24-4 overall record and an 8-0 record in the Prep League. The team’s cohesion, skill development and camaraderie propelled them to success.

The team’s stellar performance in the regular season laid high expectations for success in the CIF Division 3 playoffs. However, in the playoffs, the Panthers faced twists and turns. According to junior goalie August Tonthat, the team dealt with widespread illness throughout the postseason.

In spite of this challenge, the team managed to win two playoff games against formidable opponents, Agoura and Fountain Valley. Poly emerged victorious in each encounter with a score of 13-8 in both games, allowing the team to reach the quarterfinals against Yucaipa. On Nov. 4 Poly fell short of a win to Yucaipa with a final score of 10-7. Despite the quarterfinal loss, the team’s collective efforts and the lessons learned throughout the season will undoubtedly serve as valuable experiences for the players moving forward.

The team’s early-season focus on skill development provided a strong foundation. However, it was the coaches’ strategic game plans and meticulous scouting reports that set them apart from other teams. According to Senior perimeter player Malcolm Villaverde, “Early in the season we developed our skills overall which took us very far; however, once we got into CIF our incredible coaching staff supplied us with game plans and scouting reports that no other team would be doing, giving us the upper hand.”

This attention to detail gave Poly a crucial advantage, showcasing the importance of both physical prowess and tactical intelligence in the sport. Senior perimeter player Jesse Benitez also highlighted the team’s unity as a force behind their success. He noted, “We have really come together as a group, which has greatly improved our team chemistry. We have bonded inside the pool and outside of it, and I think that our tightness as a group has given us an edge over our opponents. Each of us is willing to work for one another.”

Senior captain and center defender, Teddy Rountree-Shtulman, also emphasized the players’ camaraderie. He remarked, “The water polo team is not just a team but a family. I have never been a part of a group of boys who I have grown so close with. When we win a game, we win it for each other. It’s the care for each other that fuels us and it’s the reason why we had a great season.”

Poly’s boys water polo team showcased skill, unity and determination throughout their remarkable season. Their outstanding overall record, perfect league record and impressive playoff victories underscore the team’s commitment to excellence.

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About the Contributor
Sam Gutierrez
Sam Gutierrez, Assistant Sports Editor
Grade: 12 Years on Staff: 3 Fun Fact: I speak three languages and have a pet lizard. Favorite Book: Hunger Games Favorite Movie: Goodfellas
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