Boys’ Water Polo Turns the Tide at Fifth League Game, Defeating Woodbridge High



Sophomore Noam Garibi shoots the penalty shot on the goal from the 5- meter line during the second quarter. He scored four points in total throughout the game.

Boys’ water polo (12-3) won 10-9 at its fifth league match on Sept. 29 in the pool against Woodbridge High. Lagging behind with a six-point deficit at the start of third quarter, the Bulldogs scored seven goals during the second half of the game. The Bulldogs will play their next non-league match against Valencia High at home at 4:15 p.m. on Oct. 8. 

Left-wing attacker and sophomore Noam Garibi scored the most with four goals, including two penalty shots. Captain and junior Liam McGuane also contributed three goals, including the last critical goal that broke the tie in the final minute of the game. 

“They were leaving me open,” McGuane said. “I just took three fakes and shot the goal, closed my eyes and hoped it went in. And I just heard screaming, and I got up and started screaming too. It was the game winner essentially, because the last couple of possessions were just us playing the defense and not allowing them to get the ball again.”

Despite the victory, captain and senior Brendan Wang pointed out lack of coordination and mistakes during the first half of the game and what could be changed in next games. 

“We should not be losing by six points in the first half,” Wang said. “I think the major problem that comes with that is that we think we are good. We think we are better than we are. We got a little cocky with our actions. We let that hurt us in the first half. So, we could do a lot better with being more humble with ourselves and more humble in our skills to play as a team and not to win, not to beat other teams but to beat ourselves into becoming better players.”

While Portola High currently ranks fifth place in the Pacific Coast League with two wins and three losses at the end of the first season, head water polo coach Kate Avery emphasized the importance of this comeback win for the rest of season.

“I think this was the win that we needed to get our morale back up and our confidence back up, because we won Laguna Hills, but we went to back-to-back losses, and they were tough, close losses,” Avery said. “With Irvine, we just lost by one point, and I think this game not only helps our weak standing and overall records; it also helps morale.”