Boys water polo shoots for win streak

Utility+player+junior+Jacob+Brooks+focuses+his+aim+and+prepares+to+throw+the+ball+during+the+teams+first+home+game+against+Esperanza+High+School+Aug.+27.+Photo+taken+by+Accolade+photographer+Paul+Yasutake.

Utility player junior Jacob Brooks focuses his aim and prepares to throw the ball during the teams first home game against Esperanza High School Aug. 27. Photo taken by Accolade photographer Paul Yasutake.

Gianne Veluz

Coach: Keith Nighswonger (head coach), Jordan Jaime (assistant coach, goalie coach)

Top Returning Players: Christian Aguirre (12), Min Chin (12), Cole Seibel (12) and Jonathan Sulvaran (12)

Outlook: Even with a shortage of players, the boys water polo team will have to be dedicated and driven to carry through the season.

“I always look at [our current] players and ability level to judge the talent that we have,” Nighswonger said. “I use that to make offenses and defenses that work best.”

Although the team lost members that would have been top returning players because of scheduling issues, the head coach plans to help the team make up for the lack of players.

“We will go along and get better at the things [that] we’re doing,” Nighswonger said. “We’ll do the best with what we have.”

Top returners like set player and set defender Sulvaran proved themselves to be valuable assets to the team by showing their commitment to improvement.

“I spent a lot of time working hard and making sure I got to all the practices that I could attend,” he said. “I work hard in the water, and I push other players to work hard as well.”

Despite the challenge of having fewer players than usual, Nighswonger said he appreciates his players for their efforts.

“They work hard; their workouts are intense, and that’s what you want,” he said. “You want your team to practice hard, so they can play hard.”

After putting in hours of practice each day, the team feels prepared to go against its competitors.

“For conditioning, we currently do a lot of swimming, weight training and mobility exercises to build up stamina and avoid any future injury,” Sulvaran said.

Nighswonger has high hopes for Aguirre, Chin, Seibel and Sulvaran as they use their experience to guide the team and fill the spots of previous key leaders lost to graduation.

“I think having experience in varsity for a couple of years and working well with teammates will contribute to [our team’s success],” second-year starter and utility player Seibel said. “I’m ready to use what I’ve learned the past few years to better our team this year.”

Along with adjusting to a smaller team, the boys are finding ways to maximize their performance and play to their strengths.

The team will play its second league game of the season at home Oct. 2 against Buena Park.