Boys water polo in midseason form

Grace Kulat, Photographer/reporter

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In an overtime game against Winter Park High School from Florida, the score was tied at 14, Ray Berg ‘19 blocked an outside shot. The offense raced back to the other end of the pool, and in the fast paced counterattack, the opposing defense failed to locate Eric Markey ‘20 , who took the winning shot in an exciting game.
After placing third in state in 2018, the head varsity water polo coach Doug Eichstaedt, said that the boys water polo team is working its way back to the top. With the loss of experienced players who graduated, the seniors will have to step up to become leaders on the team as well as examples of what it means to have good work ethic.
This year the team includes returning 2018 Illinois player of the year Victor Perez ‘19 and two previous starters, Bobby Bolan ‘20 and Sebastian Perez ‘21 who will help aid the team to state again. The team also is sitting at a record of 18-2 with losses against only St. Rita and Fenwick, and is ranked third according to illpolo.com.
Most of the players have played together for a very long time and all have a close relationship that helps them in the water.
“Our biggest strength is our familiarity with how we all play because we’ve played together for so long,” Martin Brown ‘20 said.
The bond that the team has helps them to be comfortable when they are faced with playing a difficult opponents.
“The team has [the] depth and versatility to play [against] different defenses as well as multiple players that can score,” Eichstaedt said.
The team doesn’t have weaknesses, rather some areas that need work, Eichstaedt said. He also added that the players need to work on understanding their role on the team.
“We tend to underestimate the effort required for certain teams,” Berg said.
The team plans to continue to grow and focus on the little things that help them win games. According to Berg, the team’s biggest weakness is that it often loses focus when going into games and doesn’t take every game as seriously as they should.
“Being ranked third in state we carry a target on our back. Other teams want to beat us, and will do everything in their power to win,” Berg said.
According to Eichstaedt the team’s biggest competition is Fenwick, Naperville Central and Stevenson, who are ranked first, second and fourth, respectively according to illpolo.com.
Although the players feel pressure from being ranked highly on the state level, they continue to play because they love the sport.
“I love the program, the team, the players and just the sport in general.The effort, talent, and energy of these guys really makes it great,” Berg said.
The team’s next game is against seventh rank Neuqua Valley at home on April 18.

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