Boys’ water polo faces a heartbreaking loss in the CIF Prelims


Ella Nicolle

Ben Zeko ’22 lunges out of the water to block the opponents shot.

Nisha Reddy, Reporter

On the sunny afternoon of Nov. 4, the Foothill Technology (Foothill Tech) Dragons faced the Polytechnic Panthers in a competitive game to decide who would move on to the California Interscholastic Federation (CIF) finals. The game was held at the Ventura Aquatic Center where many parents and students were eager to see the games continue.

The Dragons started off strong with the first goal of the game. Soon after, the rivals scraped up a lucky goal, tying the score at 1-1 and making the crowd eager for more. Both teams put in full effort until the quarter ends, leaving the score at 3-2, Polytechnic in the lead. 

Foothill Tech started with the ball, keeping their momentum up and managing to get a fast goal, tying it up 3-3 with six minutes left in the second quarter. The team was hoping for the best, this possibly being the seniors’ last game of their high school career.

Ben Zeko ‘22 emphasizes this feeling when he responds to this sentiment, saying, “the seniors were really serious about this being their last game,” and



With the spirit high and the other team quickening the pace, the quarter ended with a score of 6-3, the Polytechnic Panthers leading as the players jumped out of the water for a strategic halftime comeback plan.

Once back in the glistening water, Foothill Tech started with the ball, moving with smarts and precision. Although there were many shot attempts, both goalkeepers were at their best, not letting one player slip a ball through their fingers. The third quarter ended in the same score as half time, 6-3, the Panthers in the lead.

Moving into the fourth and final quarter, the Dragons put in their all, hoping to move on to play another round in CIF. In the first few seconds of the last quarter, Foothill Tech scores a goal, making the crowd jump with excitement and hope, the score now 6-4. 

Donovan Hart ‘21 was fouled and had the opportunity to take a penalty shot. With everyone on the edge of their seats, the goalkeeper was not distracted one bit. Not lagging once, he successfully blocked the penalty shot. 

The Foothill Tech team grapples with the Polytechnic team in a battle for possession of the ball. (Ella Nicolle)

Shortly after, the Polytechnic Panthers scored another goal, making it 7-4 with three minutes left in the game. Without a miracle, the Panthers would take the game. The Dragons already started to drop their heads, the Panthers scoring the final goal of the game with only two minutes remaining.

The Foothill Tech Dragons faced a devastating 8-4 loss against the Polytechnic Panthers, bringing their season to an end.

The atmosphere as the boys make their way to cheer for the opposing team left the players and parents heartbroken. Emotions are flying through the air as Zeko reflected on how the energy was before the game, saying, “the energy before the game was a little unfocused, but everyone was excited for the game.” Later on he adds, “this has been a really fun season,” then turning to say one last goodbye to his fellow teammates.

The Polytechnic Panthers will now advance onto CIF finals, leaving the Foothill Technology Dragons to look forward to a fresh start and to a successful season in the next year. 

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