New methods lead to strong play by boys’ water polo team

November 4, 2009 — by Tim Rollinson

With a new strategy in mind, the 4-6 Falcons are currently in the middle of the El Camino League standings. Recently water polo coach Christian Bonner implemented a system in which the starters would be determined by effort in practice rather than raw ability. The new system paid off on Oct. 21 as the Falcons won their game 12-5 against the second-place Fremont Firebirds.

“The game against Fremont was the best we have played all season,” said sophomore Nic Doyen. “It felt good to beat such a quality opponent by so much.”

Although the starting lineup looked similar, sophomore Tyler Borch was brought in to replace senior leading scorer Kevin Rollinson, who was out with a sinus infection. The Falcons dominated the game. Junior goalie Gavin Peake had a stellar performance, letting in only five goals against over 25 Fremont shots. The offense was paced by senior captains John Chen and Kevin Yao and Doyen.

“I liked the effort I saw against Fremont,” said Bonner. “It was the first time we played the way we are capable of playing.”

Lynbrook, the only remaining undefeated team in the El Camino Division, came to Saratoga on Oct. 22. Three early goals by the Vikings put the Saratoga behind, but a comeback led by Chen and Doyen made the game a closer contest, with a final score of 18-14 in favor of the Vikings.

“Our goal is to beat Lynbrook in the league tournament,” said Doyen. “If we play like we can it is achievable.”

At the Oct. 27 Senior Day game, Harker got out to a strong start, and by the end of the third quarter, victory looked like a guarantee for the Eagles, leading 12-7. Yao, a key player for the Falcons, was kicked out three times in the first quarter, eliminating him from the rest of the game. But the Falcons did not give up hope, scoring five consecutive goals to force the game into a 12-12 tie and overtime. In overtime, the Falcons were leading until officials flagged Chen with a brutality foul, giving Harker a penalty shot and possession. The team was unable to come back from this deficit, losing 17-16.

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