As the varsity boys water polo team headed into CCS seeded ninth, it treaded new waters. This year, the team heads into Division I CCS and plays unfamiliar teams, a product of the school’s student body growth. Schools are categorized into divisions by their attendance.
The team entered CCS coming off a number of important wins, first against Los Gatos High School earlier in the month in the first round of SCVALs, then against rival Mountain View to secure third place in SCVALs, and finally, against Leland High School, a team the Eagles have not often played, in the first round of CCS.
Los Altos crushed Los Gatos 16-6, the largest margin by which it has defeated Los Gatos this season.
The next, and perhaps most significant victory to the team, was a 13-11 triumph over Mountain View on Saturday, November 9. Unlike with Los Gatos, the Eagles came into this game as the underdog, having lost twice to the Spartans this season.
As of press deadline, the team’s most recent game (and victory), was against Leland in the earliest stage of CCS on Tuesday, November 12. Los Altos defeated Leland 12-8 to advance to the quarterfinals of CCS against water polo powerhouse Bellarmine, who they played on Saturday, November 16.
These victories served to increase optimism in the team.
“I believe we can make it,” Ryan said. “This year we’ve trained harder than we’ve ever trained, it’s just things haven’t gone our way all the time. In all the games we’ve lost, we’ve lost by a hair except for one or two. We’ve been in it the whole time. We’ll just put it together in the end and see what happens.”
These victories, however, represent only part of the season. The reality remains that this season has brought with it a number of adversities that the Eagles have had to overcome. The first of these was the influx of junior players, who had to adjust quickly to the varsity level. The second was the switch to Division I CCS, in which new teams were played.
Foreign territory and relative lack of experience have not been the only adversities that the team has faced this season. One major setback for the team has been the absence of its goalie, junior Dane Grosvenor, in the most crucial stretch of the season. Due to a concussion, Dane has been incapable of performing this integral role. The team placed a four-year field player, senior Derrick Lu in the cage, who has performed impressively despite not having been trained to be a goalie.
“Derrick in goal really allows us to play for each other,” Ryan said. “It forces us to step up our defense and we play better as a team.”
These adversities have had effects on the team, one of which includes failing to improve statistics from last year, losing six games in the season opposed to last year’s two. The season also welcomed for the first time in 15 years a championship game sans Eagles.
Strong senior leadership has been a major part in counteracting these adversities, and has been at the core of the team’s performance this year.
Captain senior Sam Lisbonne has scored 144 goals in the season. Senior Jordan Stout comes in second with goals and collectively the seniors on the team have demonstrated great responsibility and influence over the team.
“The seniors were a big part of the team this year and contributed so much to the program,” junior Bryan Kim said. “The seniors this year really led the team and held it together when games got rough.”
This year’s juniors comprised of two thirds of the team this year. They too have contributed greatly to the season.
“They’ve really stepped up and matured as players, teammates and leaders,” Ryan said “As far as next year in terms of leadership I think we’re going to have a strong core.”