Alaina Lui

Patrick Duffy (left) and Anup Sankarraman (right) warm up before the game. Duffy scored three goals in the game and Sankarraman played strong defense throughout. Photo by Alaina Lui.

The boys water polo team faced off against Mountain View High School on Oct. 17 at home. Both teams fought hard, but the Spartans started stronger, scoring the first goal of the game. The Matadors kept the deficit within two points for the rest of the game but would never take the lead. The Matadors now have a league record of 2-6.

The Spartans scored early and tried to keep up their momentum but junior Patrick Duffy kept the Matadors’ offense going with two goals in the first quarter. The Spartans led 3-2 at the end of the first quarter.

Two quick goals – one for each team – opened the second quarter as the teams struggled to push an advantage. The offensive burst continued for the last five minutes of the half with both teams hitting the post on a sequence of promising shots. However, neither team could find the mark, and the Spartans led 4-3 at the end of the half.

Although they were behind, the Matadors knew they were playing well.
“We came out playing with a lot of intensity,” senior Justin Zheng said, “but we knew we needed to be more careful with our passes and shots if we wanted to win.”

The Matadors knew what to do and scored a quick goal to start the second half, bringing the game to a tie at 4-4. But the Spartans also made changes and regained their lead on the very next possession. This back-and-forth exchange in goals was the story of the third quarter and the game was tied 6-6 with 2:33 left in the third. However, miscommunication from the Matadors resulted in a 5-meter penalty for the Spartans to end the third quarter 7-6 in favor of the Spartans.

Again, the Matadors opened up the quarter strong, this time with a goal from senior Colin Hong, set up by a full-court pass from sophomore goalie Abhinav Patel. With 5:34 left in the fourth quarter, the game was tied again. But the Matadors couldn’t close out the game with the same intensity they started with, and it was the Spartans who stepped up in the final minutes of the game. The Spartans would score two more goals to win the game, 9-7.

“We played really good defense but we blew away a lot of passes,” Patel said. “We tried forcing things in situations where we could have played it slow.”

While they acknowledged their mistakes, the Matadors were satisfied with their play.

“We played well,” Duffy said. “We lost because of little mistakes, but it was still a good game.”

The Matadors’ next game is on Oct. 24 against Palo Alto High School at Palo Alto.