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Water polo team makes a splash with influx of new talent

Water+polo+team+makes+a+splash+with+influx+of+new+talent
Marissa Chao

From a small ripple to a giant wave, MVHS’s water polo team is growing in size, with a multitude of new and old players. 

“I really like having a lot more people than previous years because even though it’s a little more chaotic, and there may not be as much playing time, more people are going to be able to play and learn how to play,” junior Jaeden Pietrofeso said.

There are around forty-five players on the water polo team this year, which is choosing to operate with no cuts, providing every student who wants to play water polo an opportunity, according to junior Yannis Mihopoulos.

“It is an all positive environment where everybody is trying to better themselves, so there’s no negativity,” Mihopoulos said.

Head coach of the water polo team and MVHS algebra teacher Rafael Alapont said the upperclassmen have taken the underclassmen under their wings, which has helped make the whole group feel more like a family.

With only seven starting positions in water polo, Mihopoulos said that it is very competitive for playing time, despite the team being no-cut. 

However, coach Alapont does an excellent job of substituting players in and out of their positions to ensure everyone gets experience, according to Pietrofeso. 

“When I look at the freshmen and the new incoming players, I see myself in them, having the same passion and love [for water polo] and wanting to learn how to play,” Pietrofeso said.

Pietrofeso also said that many of the incoming players have never played water polo before, which is similar to how the now-experienced players on varsity started their own water polo careers at MVHS.

“We have such a great program that allows people that have never played before to get to that level where they can actively be a part of a team without really needing that much experience,” Mihopoulos said.

Marissa Chao

Players with more experience usually go out of their way to support new players who haven’t played before, according to Mihopoulos.

“The captains of both JV and varsity have really taken a good position with leadership on how to coordinate everyone [and teach] them fundamentals of how to improve themselves,” Pietrofeso said.

Coach Alapont said the water polo team is now in the upper league of CCS, after winning the league championship last season.

“It’s going to be growing pains, but in order for the underclassmen to succeed at a higher level, we need to be in the upper league,” coach Alapont said.

This season, the water polo team is preparing to handle any adversity that comes their way and stay motivated to keep playing hard, especially with a majority young group, according to coach Alapont. 

“We really need to put our heads down and focus if we want to make an impact on this year,” Mihopoulos said.

The talent exhibited by the water polo team’s underclassmen this season is exceptional, according to Alapont, which makes water polo an exciting sport to be part of throughout the next few years.

“The sport is growing, which I love to hear, so that more kids can have the same passion for water polo as we all do,” Pietrofeso said.

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About the Contributors
Antonio Peeples, Editor-in-Chief
Antonio is a senior and serves as an Editor-in-Chief (web focus) for the Oracle. Outside of school he enjoys playing baseball.
Marissa Chao, Print Opinions Editor
Marissa is a junior and serves as the Print Opinions Editor for the Oracle. Outside of school, she enjoys swimming and listening to good music.
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