Mats Sink Polo’s NCS Bid


Kelly Pien, News Editor

After advancing to the title match on a controversial ruling handed down from the NCS office, boy’s water polo finally hit a snag in the form of cross-town rival Miramonte. Played at Acalanes on November 15, the championship game ended in a Matador victory, 10-6.

The result is a disappointing reversal of last year’s title match-up, where the Cougars beat Miramonte. Head coach Miles Price said he felt “not great, I mean obviously.”

Nevertheless, Price and his players were able to find some positives in the defeat.

“I thought we played as a team. We really stuck it out there,” senior player Scott Zurnacian said.

“They [the Campo players] didn’t give up, fought hard, played our game,” Price said. “For the most part, it went well, we got a lot of opportunities and it just didn’t go in.”

A combination of Miramonte counterattacks and failure to capitalize on scoring opportunities caused the team to falter.

“We got counterattacked a lot, which definitely hurt us,” junior player Cole Stevens said. “We let them have the momentum for most of the game, and we needed to take that away, but we didn’t. And we missed a couple pretty big goals.”

“[Miramonte] played really hard, pressed the counterattack, that’s their game, you know? Physical team, so if you don’t match the physicality you’re going to get beat,” Price said. “I think we matched it, to an extent. You miss shots, whenever we missed shots they capitalized on it, and that’s the difference. Shot doesn’t go in, you better get back, and if you don’t get back you’re going to get beat.”

For his part, Miramonte head coach James Lathrop credited their success to defense. “We really wanted to play good defense, and I think that was kind of our goal. And I think we really did a pretty good job of that. I think our goalie had a great game. I kind of think back to the last one when Spencer Tagg was really hard to beat and had a great game. And I think today our goalie just was really on fire and hard to stop.”

Lathrop felt their general game plan was bolstered by the fact that they did not know who they would play in the NCS finals until the day before.

In Campolindo’s NCS semi-final against Acalanes on Wednesday, November 12, overtime uncertainties forced NCS officials to review the game for more than a day. Campolindo was not declared the winner until Friday, November 14, the day before the NCS final.

“I think in some ways it was kind of a nice thing for us. We kind of got to really think about what we wanted to do as a team, as opposed to thinking about Campo or Acalanes, or whoever we were going to play,” Lathrop said.

The Steve Heaston Aquatic Center was packed with fans and students from Campolindo, Miramonte, and Acalanes. Acalanes students cheered for Miramonte’s team, repeating Miramonte fans’ cheers and adding their own chant referring to Wednesday’s game: “Where are your lawyers?”

“You know, it’s always fun to win, and I think it’s fun to play against Campo, and it’s obviously a rivalry,” Lathrop said. “It’s not even an extra incentive, motivation – I don’t think either team like needs extra motivation to win it, but they’re just kind of like, it makes for a great atmosphere, because the fans are into it.”

The Cougars end their season with 21 wins and 7 losses. They placed 2nd in NCS, and were honored with medals, a plaque, and a pennant at the end of the game.

“You know, it’s always tough to lose, but I love my team,” Zurnacian said. “My team played hard. Miramonte is a great opponent. It’s all about having fun, and that’s what we did out there.”

“It was an amazing season, pretty incomparable. The seniors were amazing,” Stevens said. “It was just [a] perfect season, except for this last game, of course.”