Boys’ water polo falls to Menlo-Atherton 7-9

Emma Beckstrom and Michael Strong, Staff Writers

The Palo Alto High School varsity boys’ water polo team fell to Menlo-Atherton 7-9 in an exhibition game on Friday, Oct. 7 at home. Menlo-Atherton controlled the Vikings for most of the game.

Bret Pinsker (‘13) blames the loss on insufficient defense and careless mistakes.

“We gave them way too many power-plays and had way too many little mistakes,” Pinkser said. “In the end, all the mistakes added up to a loss.”

Menlo-Atherton’s Morgan Olson Fabro (‘13) got his team off to the start they were looking for with a quick goal.

Paly’s co-captain Aaron Zelinger (‘12) was quick to counter, putting Paly on the scoreboard with a goal of his own.

Shortly after Zelinger’s goal, Menlo-Atherton’s Roger Upton fired back with another goal for the Bears, ending the first quarter at 1-2.

Starting the second quarter, Nelson Perla-Ward (‘15) scored a goal from deep to even the score at two a piece.
The bears, sick and tired of the back-and-forth match, responded with two goals from Harrison Holland-Mccowan (‘13) and Zach Cogan (‘13).

Perla-Ward, in an effort to halt the M-A attack, sank his second goal of the game to cut the Menlo-Atherton lead to just one.

Building off of the success of his teammate, Will Conner (‘14) scored a goal of his own to tie the game for the second time at  4-4.
The two teams exchanged goals once again when Holland-Mccowan and Pinsker each socred goals for their teams. The first half had ended in a 5-5 tie.
Evan McClelland surprised Paly’s defense with two quick goals to put his team in a commanding 2 goal lead.

Viking Co-captain Daniel Armitano (‘12) made a crucial save his team to keep his team within fighting distance after three quarters of play.

Fabro scored again andPerla-Ward responded with his third and final goal of the night. Fabro then scored his third and final goal of the night, ending the game 9-7.
Although the Vikings were a little bummed about the outcome of the game, Pinsker remained proud.

“The loss was not that upsetting,” Pinkser said. “[Menlo-Atherston is] ranked as one of the top teams in [Central Coast Sectionals (CCS)]. We played well and we are not ranked that high in CCS. So, us playing evenly with them was a statement to the rest of the league that we’re good.”

Pinsker understands the mistakes they made on Friday but has not lost confidence in his team.

“We can win CCS this year if we play well and work hard,” Pinsker said, “[but] not if we play the way we did today.”