With an unfortunate loss to their rival El Segundo on Thursday Nov. 3, boys’ water polo ended their league season holding a second place position. The game against El Segundo was the deciding factor between first and second place, however the boys failed to execute defense techniques within the final quarter.
“I feel like with the amount of work we put in this season, we deserved first place in league,” senior Nate Attarzadeh said. “Although we did not meet our goal, this season is still one to be remembered.”
Prior to their final league game, Samo defeated El Segundo 10-9 in El Segundo’s waters. This proves that although Samo lost to El Segundo this past Thursday, they still had the capability and determination to beat them. Senior Brian Kong summarizes this frustration.
“We play brilliantly in one game, and just crumble in the next,” Kong said. “On bad days, offense becomes stagnant, defense is sluggish and it becomes a painful game to watch. Our main problem is simply our mentality.”
The entire team agrees that their main challenges this season were not issues with fundamental skill. Through hours of training, the team had complete ability to pull first place in league and defeat every opponent. The only difficulty was maintaining the proper mindset to win.
“When the game gets to a certain point, sometimes nerves kick in and it’s harder to execute everything we’ve practiced this season,” senior Zachary Blunck said, referring to the game against El Segundo. “Ultimately, they just wanted it more, and there isn’t really any mechanical way to fix that.”
Despite falling short of their league goal, the team still qualified for CIF. In the meantime, the boys will touch up on defense in order to prepare for their upcoming games.
As league ends and CIF begins, the Samo careers of the senior players draw to an end. Closely-knit friends since freshman year, the end of this experience is both emotional and motivational for the players. The team intends to take that energy and focus it on going as far in CIF as possible.
“This is a hard bunch to say goodbye to,” Coach Matthew Flanders said. “We have been together through many successful years. They work so hard, and deserve the best. I know that they will be very successful in life because of the lessons they have learned in the pool.”