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Varsity boys waterpolo defeats El Dorado

Varsity boys water polo defeated El Dorado 11-7 in a home preseason game Wednesday, Sept. 19.

In the first quarter, Walnut and El Dorado traded possessions until El Dorado scored the first goal at the 3:23 mark. Walnut responded with a goal made by utility senior Nick Fabrega off of a ball recovery. After two shot attempts from Walnut, El Dorado scored again; however, Walnut made a goal with 23 seconds remaining, tying the quarter 2-2.

“I felt like we were slowly getting into our division three [mindset] during the first quarter,” set sophomore Jasper Wang said. “I wasn’t sad or happy because we weren’t playing [badly] or [well] either. I was thinking that we were okay and that we could do better.”

The Mustangs began the second quarter with two goals scored by driver senior Kyle Green and one goal made by utility junior Jovian Peng, gaining a 5-2 lead. The Mustangs’ man-to-man defense limited the Hawks to one goal and opened an opportunity for driver senior Patrick Webb to score, extending their lead to 6-3.

“During the first half, we were trying to find out who their strong players were and what their weaknesses [were],” goalkeeper freshman Austin Johnson said. “As a [goalkeeper], I looked for their most common shooter and who they feed the ball into and who passes it the most.”

At the start of the third quarter, Walnut utilized a perimeter passing tactic, in which four players surround the opponent’s defense and pass the ball among each other to find gaps in the defense. This strategy, reinforced by saves from Johnson, held El Dorado at one goal and allowed Fabrega and Peng to score two additional goals.

“During the third quarter, I felt like we were taking good shots, but we needed to adjust to their defense and their goalie,” Peng said. “I think we definitely we have to improve on our shot selection and accuracy.”

With 3:55 left in the third quarter, Fabrega scored another goal after breaking through the Hawks’ defense and isolating himself for a one-on-one shot against the opposing goalkeeper. The Hawks attempted to decrease their five-point deficit with three shot attempts, but the Mustangs responded with another goal by Green, ending the quarter 10-4.

“In the third quarter, we were starting to pick up our energy and work with our strategies,” Torreyson said. “I felt like it was a really fun game and that we executed our game plan. It was a job well done.”

During the fourth quarter, blocks from driver junior Preston Patam and a goal from Webb delayed El Dorado’s offense, resulting in missed shot attempts and turnovers from El Dorado. As the quarter continued, despite Walnut’s defensive pressure, El Dorado scored three goals by the end of the quarter, ending the game 11-7.

“I thought our lockdown defense and communication with each other were really good,” Wang said. “Something I have to improve on is my stepout because, as a hole set, I have to establish space between myself and my defender to score.”

Walnut are now practicing for its first league game against Charter Oak Wednesday, Sept. 26 at Charter Oak High School.

“We have to bring the mentality that every game that we play is a California Interscholastic Federation finals game,” Wang said. “Everyone on our team tries their hardest, and, no matter what happens, they never give up. Never giving up is something we have in mind every single day.”