Water polo makes a splash

Varsity water polo looks forward to closing their season with personal and team victories



A varsity water player polo looks to shoot the ball at his opponents goal during a match in the Upper Campus pool against Vernon Hills on April 20.

Mackenzie Sroka, Sports Editor

Ryan Story, a sophomore varsity player, works around the defender and throws the ball into the net. He celebrates quickly with his teammates and then prepare for the other teams response. This was the first goal that Story scored this game, which was a goal of his he was able to accomplish. He also used his lessons from previous seasons to his advantage during the game. 

Many of the players are carrying in lessons from pervious years into this season, which they plan to learn and grow from.

“The lessons I’m carrying in are how to play the game and knowing what my teammate’s strengths and weaknesses are, so I can use my knowledge of them to help better the team,” described Story.

While others are focusing on lessons they learned to better the team, some are using their lessons to better themselves. 

“There are many lessons that I have learned from the sport and most of all from my coach. One is that your brain gives up before your body does, you can do a lot more than you think that you can, and that goes for everyone,” explains Brayden Kochan, a junior varsity goalie. “Another one is that panic solves nothing. This sport teaches you to be decisive, whether it’s right or wrong, you at least made a decision.”

Most players are trying to better themselves in order to be a leader or to inspire themselves and others to work to be their best. 

For example, senior Morgan Donovan aspires to not give up or be afraid. “I can’t give up and I can’t be afraid if I want to fulfill my goals for my last year of polo,” she states. “Now that I am the oldest girl on the team I am one of the people the younger ones look up too.”

Throughout the season the team will be striving to reach their personally set team goals. 

“[I hope] to win at least two tournaments and to beat Stevenson High School,” described Gaven Hedberg, a senior varsity player. 

During the season players will also be working to achieve their personal goals. 

“My personal goals for the season is to get as many goals as possible, but to also continue to prove that I belong on the team and that I am just as strong and work just as hard as any of the boys. So far I am meeting my goal of proving I am just as strong as any of the guys on any water polo team, which is really filling,” explained Donovan. 

Some of the players personal goals will have a positive affect on team, if they are achieved.

“I would say one of my personal goals is to be able to help the new people out and become passionate about the sport like I am. Another personal goal would be to have more saves than goals allowed,” described Kochan. 

The atmosphere of and around a team can shape the whole season, so it is important to have a good atmosphere for the players. 

“The atmosphere of the water polo team is very fun. Everyone has fun with each other and everyone’s accepted no matter who they are. Even during a game we all treat each other respectfully and try our best and support each other to be the best player we can be,” explained Story. 

Having a fun atmosphere is important for building a trusting relationship with each other and to have fun in the sport. It also can work to encourage teammates to push each other. 

‘Water polo has one of the best communities of any sport I have ever played. It’s everyone helping everyone. Everyone is kind and passionate about the sport. We are all super close with each other, where as in other sports, there are cliques in them,” described Kochan, “The chemistry we have as a team is unlike any other team I have been on. Even before and after games, the teams we had played against and were playing later, are almost all really nice. This past weekend, we were having full conversations in the locker room before and after our games.”

The teammates connection with each other makes communication during games easier and the games more fun. Playing games as a team is what a lot of players most look forward to in their season. 

“I am most looking forward to all the games that the team has. I do believe this is the most amount of games the water polo has ever had during our season, so I’m excited to continue going against other teams almost every weekend. It is nice because it’s my senior year and I love playing games,” explained Donovan.

During these games players get a chance to see the improvement the team has made together and their own personal improvements. This is also another thing that many players look forward to being able to experience in their season. 

“I am looking forward to seeing how much I’ve improve, the new kids improve, and the team as a whole improves. I also look forward to the pasta parties we have before games and just making memories in general,” described Kochan.

Story jumps into the pool with excitement and incipated to accomplish more goals in the next game about to begin. Many of his teammates too are looking forward to working together to accomplish personal and team goals.