Boys water polo wins against Rancho Cucamonga

Boys water polo rose to an overall record of 11-2 after defeating Rancho Cucamonga 20-12 on Thursday, Sept. 14 at home.

Utility sophomore Jovian Peng and utility senior Noah Brokaw led the way for the Mustangs, both scoring four points a piece on two shot attempts. On defense, goalkeeper senior Hassan Eldemerdash blocked seven shots.

In the first quarter, the Mustangs scored four consecutive goals to take an early lead. With careful dribbling and planned plays, wing junior Kyle Green scored two points with the assist of utility junior Nick Fabrega. At the two minute mark, Green stole the ball from the Cougars and drove in for another goal, but with less than a minute left in the quarter, driver senior Peter Harijanto was ejected, allowing the Cougars to gain an advantage of a six versus five and scored its first point. The Mustangs totalled two more points, ending the first quarter 9-1.

“We worked a lot on counterattacks, speed and power during practice,” Peng said. “Pretty much all our goals, especially the nine goals in the first quarter, which got us the lead, were from counterattacks.”

During the second quarter, the Cougars played better, scoring three consecutive points and blocking three attempts from the Mustangs. Peng scored three points, followed by Brokaw and driver junior Patrick Webb who scored one point each. Walnut finished the first half leading 15-4.

“[The team] was on the same page, so it was a lot easier than I anticipated. We had good communication and good flow,” utility senior Justin Swafford said. “[During practice] we swim so much that our stamina is through the roof — we kept up with [Rancho’s] tempo, and if anything, we were above their tempo.”

In the start of the second half, Coach Tyler Watkins replaced the starters with substitutes and subbed out Eldemerdash so Swafford could play goalkeeper.

“We already knew that we won the game, but we had to keep the same level of intensity,” Eldemerdash said. “But at the same time, coach wanted [the substitutes] to play so everyone would get the experience of playing.”

With the switch, the Cougars were able to score a total of eight points in the second half while the Mustangs scored five points. Regardless, the Mustangs maintained their lead of eight points, winning the game 20-12.

“We had a really good shot percentage. I think we shot 75 percent or higher, and everyone got opportunities, so that was really good. For offense, we always try to counterattack. Setting up a half court is the traditional way, but if the [other] team is unprepared, and we catch them off guard, there’s no reason not to counterattack,” Peng said. “Most of the goals were probably shots we should have gotten to; that’s something the players have to get used to on defense, but next game we’re all going to step up our game.”

By Albert Law, Design lead
Photo by Kyle Lin