Wildcats wash away Scots’ hopes of CCS


Caiden La France

Sophomore Kian Bhatt escapes a defender as he swims away with the ball.

Carlmont’s boys varsity water polo team suffered a heartbreaking defeat to the Woodside Wildcats with a score of 5-3. This game was crucial as it was the final game of the season and the last chance for the varsity team to attend the Central Coast Section (CCS) playoffs. The Scots ferociously fought to match the spirit of the Wildcats but fell short in the second half. 

“They have momentum behind them because it will be their last home game and their senior night. So they’re going to be super duper hyped to do really well,” said Justine Hedlund, the varsity boys water polo coach.

At the beginning of the season, the team experienced a string of losses, giving them opportunities to improve and better their teamwork as one cohesive unit. They went on to beat Hillsdale, Terra Nova twice, and Woodside in Carlmont’s home game. This granted the team an opportunity to be nominated for the CCS playoffs, if they could beat Woodside a second time. With morale at an all-time high, the team went to take out Woodside and end the season with a bang.

“So far we’ve had a good season. We just got to win our last game against Woodside,” said Zane Tanabe, a junior at Carlmont.

Infographic by Nicholas Lee

The first quarter started strong for the Scots ending with a score of 2-0. Reaching the second quarter, the Scots lost their momentum as the Wildcats built up their own, tying the second quarter with a score of 3-3.

“We were just very trigger-happy in our shots, [and] we couldn’t go on our offensive plays,” said Dylan Lobo, a senior captain for the Scots.

During the third quarter, the Wildcats scored to take the lead 4-3. A couple plays later, Lobo was injured after taking a shot at the Wildcats. The game quickly stopped when the referees caught wind of the potential injury. Both teams helped to drag him out of the pool and laid him on the deck. It ended up being a terrible cramp in Lobo’s inner quad, temporarily immobilizing him and taking him out for the remainder of the game.

“You need a certain number of solid players, and Lobo is pretty exceptional. He’s a good player, and that really makes or breaks the passes and shots and the coordination because he was our captain,” said Konstantin Pejakovic, a senior at Carlmont.

Exhausted and missing their captain, the Scots fell further behind in the final quarter when Woodside got a shot at the two-minute mark. This sealed the Scots fate and their dreams of CCS when the final score reached 5-3.

Although the seniors’ high school season is now over, they are still planning to stick with water polo in the future. Many players plan to continue their water polo journey in a college club.

“I [am going to] play a club regardless of what college I get into,” Pejakovic said.

Although the season’s final game ended with a loss, players on both sides respected each other’s skill and congratulated each other on their performance, shaking hands as they dried themselves off. 

“We’ll be back next year,” Tanabe said.