Boys’ water polo conquers Channel Islands 24-9 at first home game

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Boys’ water polo conquers Channel Islands 24-9 at first home game

Joshua Modglin

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With the sun beating down from the cloudless sky and crowds filling the pool deck of the Ventura Aquatic Center, the Foothill boys’ varsity and junior varsity teams played Channel Islands High School at their first home game of the season.

The boys' water polo team cheers before the game. Credit: Sarah Kagan/The Foothill Dragon Press

The boys’ water polo team gathers for a pre-game cheer. Credit: Sarah Kagan/The Foothill Dragon Press

With the sun beating down from the cloudless sky and crowds filling the pool deck of the Ventura Aquatic Center, the Foothill boys’ varsity and junior varsity teams played Channel Islands High School at their first home game of the season. The Dragons defeated the Raiders with a final score of 24-9. The team now has an overall record of one win, two losses.

During the game, due to Channel Islands’ lack of a junior varsity (JV) team, both the Foothill JV and varsity team played within the same game. Varsity played the first and third quarters, while JV played the second and last quarters. It still counted as a varsity level game.

Credit: Chloey Settles/The Foothill Dragon Press

Sophomore Richie Brandi attempts to block the ball. Credit: Sarah Kagan/The Foothill Dragon Press

In the first quarter, Foothill was first to gain possession of the ball and dominated the court. After two attempts to make a goal, sophomore and field player Nico Parker was the first to score for Foothill within the first thirty seconds of the game. Within the next five minutes of the quarter, Foothill scored six more goals, from sophomore Kevin Waechter, sophomore Andres Coppa, junior Dale Starr, another from Parker and two from senior Mitchell Caldwell.

Within the first eleven seconds of the second quarter, JV player and freshman Mason King scored Foothill’s eighth goal. Less than twenty seconds later, freshman Garrett Mann scored the ninth goal of the game. Freshman Ian Cambu scored Foothill’s tenth goal. When sophomore Michael Aguilar was ejected from the game, which is when a player is temporarily taken out of the game for playing too roughly, the Raiders did not score within the 20-second penalty, but did score their first goal in the next play.

Channel Islands scored again, 39 seconds after their first goal, and Foothill retaliated by scoring their 11th goal. The Raiders followed with scoring their third goal of the game. Aguilar scored the 12th goal for Foothill. In a penalty shot with five seconds on the clock, Channel Islands ended the quarter by scoring a fourth goal.

For freshman Nicolas Aguilera, it was nerve-racking to play against Channel Islands.

“I was a little nervous at first [playing against a varsity level team], but then I got used to it and felt fine,” he said.

With the varsity players back in the water, the third quarter began with Foothill controlling the ball. Coppa scored a goal 27 seconds into the quarter, pushing Foothill’s lead to 13-4. The Raiders scored their fifth goal with six minutes and 14 seconds left in the seven minute quarter. Foothill scored two consecutive goals before Channel Islands scored again. The quarter ended with Foothill scoring three more times and Channel Islands scoring the last goal.

In the final quarter, the JV players “got aggressive,” according to Coach David Wallace. The JV players scored four consecutive times in the first minute and a half of the quarter. Freshman Lucas Steward added to Foothill’s score of 23-7. Aguilar was “majored” from the game, which is when a player is expelled from the game for earning three ejections. The Raiders scored their 8th goal with Mann scoring Foothill’s final goal shortly after. Channel Islands scored the last point of the game, and the game ended with a final score of 24-9.

“It was fun to see kids [who] normally don’t get aggressive, get aggressive,” Wallace said. “It was nice to see some of the JV players play aggressive.”

 

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To Wallace, sophomore and varsity player Devin Pennington stood out among the other players during the game.

“He played smart, he made good passes and he played really good defense,” Wallace said.

Principal Joe Bova believed that both the JV and varsity players earned a lot of experience through the game.

“They played pretty sharp,” he said. “I’m glad they got a chance to play pretty much both varsity and JV teams to get a lot of experience against another varsity team.”

Even though Waechter saw that the team “expanded on [their] new abilities,” he believes there is a lot of room for improvement in communication between the players.

Wallace noticed that the team needs to continue to work on passing to one another as the commotion of the game distracts them.

“We need to improve on our passing under pressure,” he said. “It’s something we still need to work on, especially with league [games] starting next week, we really need to work on our passing under pressure.”

 

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Waechter also believes that the team will continue to get better and remain strong.

“I believe our team is going to stay very strong. I hope we don’t fall in anyway but we will keep working hard, just like today,” Waechter said.

Aguilar looks forward to “having fun” the rest of the season but also working hard.

“I’m looking forward to being with the teammates the whole time and having fun with them while still learning a lot and making a legacy,” he said.

Wallace believes that the water polo team has played well despite the hard competition earlier in the season.

“We’ve played in some very difficult tournaments and played competitively,” he said. “The young guys are getting much better and the upperclassmen are showing some very good leadership.”

Athletics Director Emily Stevens, who also attended the game, thinks that the team is always improving.
“They are improving every game and from last year,” Stevens said. “They are already way ahead of where they were so it is going to be a great season.”

Background Photo Credit: Sarah Kagan/The Foothill Dragon Press

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