Boys’ water polo out in first round CIF playoff match against Yucaipa


Muriel Rowley

Jake Anders ’20 searches for someone to pass the ball to

Chloe Scofield, Reporter

The excitement in the air at the Ventura Aquatic Center on Nov. 5 was unmatched. Crowds of students and parents surrounded the pool in support of both the Foothill Dragons and the Yucaipa Thunderbirds in the first round CIF playoff game. After a short delay at the beginning of the game due to some technical difficulties, the game began, with the Dragons prepared to handle their opponents.

At the ball drop, the first sprint was won by Jake Anders ‘20, who passed it off to Jack Ryan ‘21. This small victory gave the crowd some hope for this match, but after Yucaipa scored within the first two minutes of the game, the tone was quickly set for the rest of the game. However, the Dragons weren’t ready to go out easily, scoring an immediate piggyback goal from Nikolai Haines ‘20 to tie up the score 1-1. 

The Dragons sustained this neutral score for the majority of the first quarter, even though it was filled with disappointing turnovers on both sides. Unfortunately for Foothill, the Thunderbirds ended the quarter strong with a quick goal, gaining a small but substantial one-point lead. 

The second quarter began with Anders winning yet another sprint for the Dragons. They held off Yucaipa from scoring any more points for a while and forced several failed goal attempts and turnovers. Multiple penalty ejections later for the Dragons, the game came to a halt as Yucaipa called a timeout. This gave Foothill time to adjust their offense and defense accordingly, which could have produced a more desirable rhythm to the game, but the Thunderbirds were scheming for a goal. Immediately after the game resumed, a goal for Yucaipa, which put them ahead 3-1. 

While it was a disheartening way to end the half, the Dragons weren’t far behind and weren’t ready for their season to be over.

The Dragons’ only source of goals for the game was Haines, but he couldn’t have done it alone. He warmly added that “we always play with intensity because we all care about this team.”



The third quarter’s sprint was lost in a scramble of flailing arms and splashing water, and was snatched by the Thunderbirds. The Dragons went hard on their offense, trying to settle the score, but Yucaipa’s defense proved impenetrable. 

Due to their aggressive offensive efforts, the Thunderbirds scored yet another goal, but the Dragons scored an almost immediate goal from a backhanded shot by Haines, assisted by Ryan. 

Yucaipa was determined to fire back, attempting several shots within their offense until they were finally successful, making the score 2-5. In response, Foothill called a timeout, rearranging their plan of attack. The returning offensive play produced another goal from Haines, pulling the game back in reach with the Dragons, now only down 3-5. The quarter ended with a wicked block from Foothill’s goalie, Max Canby ‘20.

Going into the final stretch of the game in their final quarter, the Dragons won the sprint, however, their momentum quickly slowed. They were given a technical after a player didn’t make it to the ejection corner quick enough. The result was a free shot for the Thunderbirds, successfully scoring another goal and increasing their lead.

Though the Dragons tried to push offense intensely, they were unsuccessful shot after shot and were further disappointed by the additional goal from their opponents, pushing the score to a 3-7 deficit.

Before the game came to an end, Yucaipa finished with two speedy goals, finalizing their win and ensuring the end of the Dragons’ season. The Dragons climbed out of the pool heartbroken with the 3-9 loss. 

“I don’t think it truly showed how well we can play,” said Canby, when asked if the results of this game really represented the team’s potential.



The Foothill boys’ water polo coach, Mike Hendrickson, believes that “if we played them again it would have been a different result,” but “I can’t say I would change much,” meaning they put their best line up out there and gave it their all.



Haines mentioned that there was “definite improvement throughout the year.”

This game wraps up the season for the Foothill Technology boys’ water polo team. Yucaipa advances into the 2nd round of CIF playoffs, going up next against St. Junipero Serra Catholic High School.

What do you think?