By Mason Archer, Staff Writer
// With another solid season under their belt, the junior varsity (JV) men’s water polo team (10-9 overall, 3-5 league) gained some much needed experience as they look to transition into varsity caliber players.
Because a significant portion of the team was trying water polo out for the first time, the inexperienced squad prepared for a rough season. However, they caught fire early, winning their first 4 games which helped to build confidence and chemistry.
On Aug. 29, the Dons opened their season with a 13-7 win over Leland. The next day they beat Alhambra by a landslide, 17-6.
“A big factor in our success was our coach Andrew Ketton Hofen,” sophomore Matt Brock-Utne said. “He had to teach a lot of kids who had never played polo before how to play and he did a great job with that.”
The Dons struggled in league play, especially against rival Campolindo. While a third of their league losses came at the hands of a talented Cougars squad, every matchup progressively become closer as the season went on.
“Some major obstacles we encountered were playing our league rivals such as Campolindo, Miramonte and Las Lomas,” sophomore Beck Melfi said. “However, the leads and win streaks that we had motivated us through tournaments and other games especially after a loss.”
A diverse JV team with freshmen and juniors developed and improved their team chemistry.
“The team chemistry overall was pretty good,” Brock-Utne said. “At the beginning we didn’t know everyone very well so people were a bit shy, but as the season progressed we all became more comfortable with each other.”
With team chemistry being such a huge part of a teams’ success, the Dons were able to find their rhythm as the season continued.
On Sept. 11, the Dons battled it out with the College Park Falcons, ultimately leaving victorious after a tight match resulted in a 7-6 win.
“Our win over College Park was our biggest win of the season,” Brock-Utne said. “Most of our other wins or losses we either won by a lot or lost by a lot.”
Freshmen played a crucial role the Dons success this year, with four out of seven starters being freshmen.
“The freshmen added a great deal of skill to our team,” Melfi said. “Many of them had experience playing water polo and were very beneficial to our success.”
With the conclusion of another eventful season, a majority of the athletes look to transition into a role on the varsity lineup.
“While we may not have done as well as we wanted, I enjoyed the team culture and being a part of the team,” Melfi said.