Boys water polo competes against Coronado High School

Karis Park, Staff Writer

The boys water polo team put up a struggle against their opponent, Coronado High School. Despite their efforts to turn the game around, they left the match with a 15-7 loss, Sept. 2.

After falling behind 10-0, the Wolverines were able to find offense in the fourth quarter, when they scored all seven of their goals.

According to goalie and co-captain Ethan Woelbern (12), the team improvised in the final quarter, which allowed them to score.

“The plan was to run a drop, which is basically where the players on the top line come back to help on the set player, which is the biggest threat in the pool,” Woelbern said. “[Our] team wasn’t able to do that, just because the team we were playing against was much more ferocious than we had anticipated, so that meant that the set player often got the ball, which is a difficult shot to block on my part.”

Woelbern attributes much of the team’s comeback to a shared improvement of effort.

“The team wasn’t putting in a lot of effort in the beginning, they were letting themselves get rolled over,” Woelbern said. “By the end, [we were] all working together to warrant stop blocks and stuff like that, which makes it easier on me and also makes it easier for the team. The other team was more conditioned.”

According to captain Tyler Patay (11) the team faced difficulty due to compromised practice time before the game.

“Our coach just got back from Serbia and so this was our first week of practice with [our] actual coach,” he said. “The beginning of the game did not go as well as planned, but in the end, I think we rallied back. I think we definitely improved over the match.”

Patay not only plays a vital role as the team’s newly appointed co-captain but also as their center, who wrestles for position in front of the goal. The center is also generally the highest scoring position in water polo.
“I think the team communication and obviously just passing the ball around and moving the ball quicker is definitely something we need to work on,” he said. “I had a lot of steals, but I definitely need to work on getting bigger and getting up into the cage and getting stronger.”

Coach Mladen Duvnjak said he believes the team will be able to pull through as they adjust to their new coach and captains. He said he is hopeful for the team’s performance in later games.

“It’s a transition period,” Duvnjak said. “Plus, the guys need to work more on conditioning but as a team. They’re working well. We will be ready for the playoffs in two months from now.”

Nathan Bertman (11) said he believes that through the leadership of the newly appointed heads of the team, the Wolverines will be able to gain an upper hand in their future matches.

Patay was able to show us a glimpse of his leadership as the co-captain during the most recent games.

“I think we definitely had that fire spirit,” Patay said. “We rallied back, and although it didn’t go as planned, I’m happy with how we were able to fight in the game.”