Boys’ waterpolo defeats Mountain View Spartans 12-7

Michael Strong and Emma Beckstrom, Staff Writers

The Palo Alto varsity boys’ water polo team defeated the Mountain View Spartans 12-7, Oct. 12 at Palo Alto High School.

Mountain View, the home team for this game (due to reconstruction of the mountain view pool) struck first with a goal from Thomas Burch (‘12) for the first goal of the game.

The Vikings soon followed with a  goal  from Nelson Perla-Ward (’15), a bullet into the lower left corner of the goal. Teammates Bret Pinsker (’13) and Quinn Rockwell (’13) added three goals to the Viking lead.

Mountain View managed to put two more in the back of the net, tying up the game 3-3 at the end of the quarter.

However, after a dispute between the score-table and the referees on the timing of Quinn Rockwell’s ejection release, ended in a decision to take away two Mountain View goals.

The clock was reset to a countdown of two minutes for the remainder of the quarter and the teams battled it out once again. This time, the Vikings held strong on defense and were able to maintain their two point lead.

“[The call] took away Mountain View’s momentum because they were really starting to get it going there,” Rockwell said. “They were starting to make a comeback, scoring two consecutive goals.”

Rockwell felt the the dispute really helped the Vikings gain momentum on there way to a win.

“[The dispute over the call] was definitely a good break for us because it gave us a second chance to put ourselves back in the game [instead of being tied],” Rockwell said. “A chance to reinstate our dominance.”

Burch’s lone goal turned out to be the only one to remain on the Spartan’s scoreboard for the rest of the half, ending the first quarter at 3-1.

This second chance lead the Vikings to more success, scoring the next three consecutive goals in the game.

The second quarter turned out to be somewhat stagnant. The players worked really hard but only one goal was scored by Aaron Zellinger (‘12), adding to the Vikings lead (5-1).

Starting the second half, Pinsker scored the teams sixth goal in a row, giving the Vikings a commanding 6-1 lead.
Mountain View finally interrupted the Paly domination, scoring three consecutive goals. The Viking’s massive five-goal lead was cut to just two at 6-4.
After a quick timeout, the Vikings answered with another two goals from Perla-Ward and Zelinger.
The Vikings co-captain Peter Rockhold (‘12) was ejected which gave the Spartans a crucial six to five man advantage, which they were unable to capitalize on.
This wasn’t the first time they failed to execute on a man-up situation; there were more than 14 similar circumstances in the game, an unusually high amount.

“Even though we didn’t play very good six-on-six defense, we were able to pick it up on our man-down defense,” Rockwell said. “The other team had 14 opportunities and we only let in about two or three [of those shots].”

After another goal from Zelinger, giving the Vikings a 9-4 lead, the Paly coaching staff lost their focus. They called an illegal timeout, awarding the Spartans a 5-meter shot. Burch took advantage of the shot, once again cutting the Viking lead to only four

Within the next three minutes, the Vikings scored another three goals courtesy of Perla-Ward, Zelinger, and Pinsker; the Spartans answered with only one goal from #4.

Pinsker, shortly after scoring his fifth goal of the game, was “rolled” (ejected from the game and forbidden to compete in their upcoming game on Oct. 13 vs Monta Vista) for allegedly kicking Mountain View’s goalie under the water .

“I’m disappointed because I have to [sit out] our next game now, against Monta Vista,” Pinkser said.

Pinsker was not the only Paly player ejected from the game; five of the six starters were also kicked out of the pool. Rockhold, Perla-Ward, Rockwell, and Will Conner (‘14), however, were ejected on a three strike rule and will be permitted to play in the Monta Vista game.

Several Paly players were surprised by the ongoing illegal aggression by Mountain View.

“Today was different because they played dirty,” Rockwell said. “Many people on our team didn’t take nicely to the other team’s dirty play; many players made poor decisions resulting in our numerous kick-outs.”

The Spartans had no answer to the Viking attack all day, and the final score turned out to be 12-7 in favor of the Vikings.

Even though they played a different game tonight, Quinn Rockwell overall was content with his team’s performance during the game.
“We did not play as individuals today, we played as a team,” Rockwell said.