The student news site of Carlmont High School in Belmont, California.

Scot Scoop News

The student news site of Carlmont High School in Belmont, California.

Scot Scoop News

The student news site of Carlmont High School in Belmont, California.

Scot Scoop News

JV boys water polo splashes through season of setbacks

Co-captain+James+Mauck+throws+a+ball+past+Terra+Novas+defense%2C+helping+score+a+goal+for+the+Scots+and+contributing+to+their+first+win.+This+victory+broke+a+five-game+losing+streak.
Benjamin Mai
Co-captain James Mauck throws a ball past Terra Nova’s defense, helping score a goal for the Scots and contributing to their first win. This victory broke a five-game losing streak.

Dealing with various injuries, a new coach, and inconsistent team captains, Carlmont’s junior varsity (JV) boys water polo team has had a challenging season. All of these factors have given them a lot of opportunities to learn.

The violence of water polo is certain. In the past few months, the team has suffered three concussions, a black eye, and an injured foot. COVID-19 and other sicknesses have slowed them down as well.

Sophomore Vlasis Kyriacou recently recovered from a mild concussion that kept him from playing for two weeks. “After I came back, I was really happy to be back and excited to play again. But it was definitely a challenge to recover,” Kyriacou said.

Although Kyriacou made a quick recovery, others have not been as fortunate. At a pre-season scrimmage against Hillsdale High School, sophomore Eugene Orloff got a severe concussion and has not been cleared to play since. His injury was a rough start for the team, considering he was initially set to be one of the team captains and was their leading sprinter.

Concussion Infographic by Camille Ching

In a sport where people throw a ball around people’s heads, concussions are common. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), having multiple concussions can lead to long-term problems with memory, concentration, and balance, and headaches. 

This is Orloff’s second concussion, so he has decided not to return next season to avoid the risk of a third one. “I think people need to be more careful in water polo,” Orloff said. ”Concussions are doled out so easily, and they really suck.” 

These injuries have not been aiding coach Adam Dean. “With those players out, it really affected the rotation and who I put into the games, which made it more difficult,” Dean said. This is his first season coaching, making it a new experience for both him and the team, who shared a coach with the varsity team last year.

However, he has noticed that these challenges only made his players stronger. “It brought the team closer together because once they were cleared and in the water, they were like ‘Okay, we really have to work as a team and help each other out,’” Dean said.

This year, second-year players have been helping those playing their first season on a water polo team. Some players had no prior experience with the sport, which resulted in a shaky start to the season. Prior to their first win against Terra Nova High School on Sept. 28, the team had been on a five-game losing streak.

“The first game was all over the place,” said sophomore Neer Ghate, who plays flat and point. “Now, we’re moving [the ball] around more and playing as a team. We’ve improved much more in that aspect from the start of the season.”

Despite their setbacks, the team morale has stayed high and negativity low. Whether they are at practice or a game, the boys are always laughing and having a good time. “We’ve always kept a positive mindset, even if we’re down by a lot,” said freshman Nate Dempsey. 

Diagram by Elizabeth Cruz

After Orloff’s concussion, sophomore James Mauck was left as the only team captain. To provide support, Coach Dean then instituted rotating captains each week. Mauck soon found himself with a foot injury, causing sophomore goalie Gabriel Goncalves to step up as one of the more consistent team captains.

“My mindset is just to get everybody prepared and locked in the game morale, stop everybody from goofing off, and play their best,” Goncalves said.

On Oct. 20, the Scots will play their final game of the season at Woodside High School, and Goncalves hopes to end the season with success.

“Our goal for our next game is to play as good as we can, essentially just winning, and to have some fun,” Goncalves said.

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About the Contributors
Camille Ching, Staff Writer
Camille Ching is a sophomore at Carlmont High School. She is a competitive diver for Carlmont and her club team and is excited to learn about journalism through covering sports. In her free time, she enjoys listening to music, spending time with friends, and traveling. Twitter: @camilllllle__
Elizabeth Cruz, Scot Scoop Editor

Elizabeth Cruz is a junior at Carlmont High School and a second-year journalist with Scot Scoop. She is one of the vice presidents of her class and is currently employed at Nothing Bundt Cakes. In her free time, you can catch her working tech crew in the PAC or in the student section of a Carlmont sports game cheering her friends on! To view her portfolio, click here.

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The student news site of Carlmont High School in Belmont, California.
JV boys water polo splashes through season of setbacks