Boys’ Water Polo Makes A Splash


Emma Haag

Senior and co-captain Dylan Gates aggressively swims towards a Crean Lutheran player, in an attempt to steal the ball. Being able to quickly transition from defense to offense with swift turnovers was one of Portola’s strengths that lead to the team’s victory.

Farhad Taraporevala and Manan Mediratta

Boys’ water polo (2-2) beat Crean Lutheran High 13-7 on Sept. 10. Co-captain and senior Dylan Gates led the team and achieved a game-high of four goals in three quarters of play. Led by an electrifying offense and a lockdown defense, the Bulldogs cruised to an easy win, with Crean Lutheran High never coming further than two points behind after the first quarter. 

“We have got really good outside shooters, like Jun Kim and Dylan Gates. We have strong setters that can go in and work our defenders, so structuring our offense around what we have is really important,” head water polo coach Kate Avery said. “It [the offense] looks good. Obviously it’s new and we aren’t always good at things when we first try them, so we have to clean that up for our game against Trabuco when we hit league.”

Co-captain and junior Jun Kim was a large part of the team’s success with three steals and three scores. The entire team played well, with smooth passing and several breakaways for easy goals. 

“My favorite teammate is probably [co-captain and senior] Leo [Peña]; he keeps us levelheaded, he calls out plays, he is kind of the best on the team, he makes sure we are all focused, [and] he makes sure we are all doing well,” Kim said.

Peña was a force in the goal, making vital saves that he quickly transitioned into offense on the other side of the pool with his precise passes. Pena and other returning players have also helped create team chemistry, another key factor in the Bulldog’s victory.

“Whether or not we make it to CIF depends entirely on how hard we commit to the way that we like to play the game,” Gates said. “As long as we are successful that’s all we can ask for and if we’re getting better every single day, then we are going to be successful.”