Boys’ water polo prepares for successful season

September 19, 2008 — by Kevin Mu and Guy Quanrud

Boys’ water polo has had a new coach every year for the past four years, and this year is no exception. Swim coach Christian Bonner is filling the position, so the team will have to adjust, once again, to new strategies.

“It’s pretty hard [having a new coach] because of the different drills they do during practice,” said senior Nick Mortazavi.

Bonner is focusing on conditioning and encouraging the team to get back into shape.

“A lot of the boys have not played polo in recent months,” he said, “so my goal for the season is getting the boys into shape as best I can.”

The team is moving down to the lower-level El Camino division of the Santa Clara Valley Athletic League this year, but team captains Arian Mahini and Mortazavi, and key players John Chen, Kevin Rollinson, and Michael Huang are planning to help lead the team to multiple victories.
“It’s a good thing and a bad thing at the same time,” Mahini said. “It sucks moving down a league, but at the same time we’re going to [do really well].”

Bonner hopes to get the team back to the higher De Anza division they were in last year. He encourages the team to give their best effort in all the matches they play, no matter the opponent or circumstance.

“Every game’s important,” Bonner said. “Whether it be a scrimmage in practice or a tournament or a regular season game, every game is a learning experience.”

This is especially true for the current season, when the team needs to win almost all of its games to move back up to their original league.
The team got off to a rough start at the season-opening Schmidt Tournament, losing all five matches against tough teams from Southern California. Counters by the other team and costly turnovers resulted in too many goals, preventing the Falcons from keeping up with their opponents. Mortazavi, along with senior Michael Huang, were the stars of the tournament, with Huang scoring four goals and Mortazavi knocking in five.

The tournament was a good learning experience for the team and because they faced extremely difficult opponents in the tournament, their results there are not indicative of how they will play in the season.

“It was good start,” Bonner said. “I definitely thought that the tournament was a success. It’s hard when there are been so many different coaches for the kids.”

They played their first league game of the season against Santa Clara High school on Sept. 18 and won with a blowout score of 13-6. Four players, Chen, Huang, Mahini, and Mortazavi each got hat tricks, with three goals apiece. Rollinson added another goal to bring the team total to 13.

“I think the team definitely played well in our first league game,” Mortazavi said. “Hopefully the momentum can carry throughout the rest of the season.”

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