Boys’ water polo loses to Loyola High School, 22-6

Mira Ahmad, Staff Writer

The Palo Alto High School varsity boys’ water polo team lost to top-ranked Loyola High School 22-6 this Friday at Paly in the North vs. South Challenge tournament.

The Loyola Cubs are ranked first in the Mission League in the California Interscholastic Federation (CIF) Southern Section and are one of the top teams in all of Southern California. So far, their season has been close to perfect, with sixteen wins and two losses.

Paly head coach Giovanni Napolitano was not surprised by the outcome of the game and felt that the team played well given its opponent’s competitiveness.

“We expected exactly what we got, 22-6,” Napolitano said. “They are one of the top teams in the sate.”

The Cubs quickly pounced on the Vikings, scoring eight goals to Paly’s one in the first quarter alone.

Loyola head coach Erick Healy felt his team performed well on defense and had a strong counterattack which worked to its advantage throughout the match.

“The boys looked like they were in good shape today. We had a good counterattack and seemed to be playing a good press defense, which helped us a lot in the beginning as well as throughout the game,” Healy said.

In the second quarter, Loyola scored another eight goals while Paly struggled to create chances offensively. Halftime came with the Vikings trailing by 15 goals.

Loyola captain and goalie Clayton Evans (’11) felt that the team’s attitude going into the game helped it secure such a strong lead.

“We came out strong, we knew it didn’t matter who our opponents were, we had to come out here and show people that we were here to play,” Evans said.

The Vikings were able to put five balls in the back of the net during the second half of the game, leaving the final score 22-6.

“After the first half we played more aggressively and with more character,” Napolitano said.

Vikings Captain Ken Wattana (’11) echoes his coach and feels that the team will be able to use this game to learn from.

“They are the number one ranked team in So Cal, so we were just trying to go in there and get some good experience,” Wattana said. It’s not often you get to play such a good team, so we wanted to learn how to play against real good competition.”

Paly recognized that the Cubs’ press defense and fast counterattacks are what brought them so much success throughout the game. The Cubs attributed their press defense as the difference between their victory and Paly’s loss.

“I thought [the Vikings] were a great team, but our press defense was a little much for them and we were able to create counterattacks early in the game because of that,” Healy said.

However, the Vikings played as a cohesive unit, and their efforts did not go unnoticed.

“They had really good leadership and their drives were good, they showed a lot of potential,” Evans said.

The Vikings are looking forward to the rest of the tournament and hope to use this game as a jumping point for the rest of the weekend.

“There were some bright spots in the game we just played, so we know that we can play against anybody, we are going to go out there and drive and shoot a lot,” Wattana said. “I want to see us play with character.”

The Vikings went on in the tournament to loss to Los Altos, 19-13, Saturday morning before falling to Davis High School 16-5 in the 15th-place game.