Boys water polo expects difficult but rewarding season

Senior+Justin+Zhang+shoots+the+ball+during+practice.+This+season+will+be+Zhang%27s+second+year+on+varsity.+Photo+by+Mihir+Joshi.
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Boys water polo expects difficult but rewarding season

Senior Justin Zhang shoots the ball during practice. This season will be Zhang's second year on varsity. Photo by Mihir Joshi.

Senior Justin Zhang shoots the ball during practice. This season will be Zhang's second year on varsity. Photo by Mihir Joshi.

Senior Justin Zhang shoots the ball during practice. This season will be Zhang's second year on varsity. Photo by Mihir Joshi.

Senior Justin Zhang shoots the ball during practice. This season will be Zhang's second year on varsity. Photo by Mihir Joshi.

Sarah Ramos

Although new rules curtailed preseason practices, Boys water polo looks forward to a successful season led by veteran varsity members.

Senior Justin Zhang shoots the ball during practice. This season will be Zhang's second year on varsity. Photo by Mihir Joshi.

Senior Justin Zhang shoots the ball during practice. This season will be Zhang’s second year on varsity. Photo by Mihir Joshi.

MVHS boys water polo began preseason practice on Aug 16. This year, the Matadors are entering the season with two days of preseason practice as opposed to the usual five or six. Due to a new league regulation, the team was unable to hold its traditional week-long practice, known as “hell week,” before tryouts. In the past, the team scheduled “hell week” for the week before school started, which gained notoriety for the demanding doubledays. “Hell week” was a common practice for all teams facing Monta Vista. However, Head Coach Ben Vierra anticipates little hardship in the upcoming season, as all league teams had to remove hell week from their schedules.

As Vierra pushes his team to make up for the lost practices, he also begins to conduct the team tryouts for new players. This year, there will likely be no cuts made, in order to maximize the number of underclassmen players training and improving for varsity. After tryouts, players will be divided up into typical freshman/sophomore and varsity teams. The Matadors must be prepared to face talented players from the other division teams.

Among many skilled players, senior Colin Hong is expected to be a driving force this season.
Not only is Hong a fourth-year varsity player, he also has a long history with Vierra, going back to his De Anza Cupertino Aquatics water polo days in middle school. Vierra coached Hong with the other 14-year-olds, giving Hong a strong foundation that he carried with him to Monta Vista.

“[Hong] will be a force to be reckoned with,” Vierra said, “but every game will be a fight for us.”

Vierra is also looking for sophomore Abhinav Patel to step up to his new position on the varsity team. Vierra is ultimately confident about the Matador’s season, and juniors Lucas Han and Gregory Moe are in agreement and confident that the team will make it to CCS again this year. Han and Moe both have been playing with MVHS water polo since freshman year, and hope to prove their worth on varsity.

Vierra anticipates challenging matches against Mountain View High School and Los Altos High Schools, the top two teams at the end of last season. MVHS’s first game this season will be against Lynbrook High School, which knocked the Matadors out of the first round of CCS last year in overtime. The Matadors are out for redemption and to start the season off strong against the rival Vikings.

“[We] definitely want to have a good showing against them,” Vierra said.

The Matadors will play against LHS at home during their next game on Sept. 17.