With a 19-7-1 record, boys water polo has hit their stride as they look to turn their regular season success into playoff results with the conference tournament starting next Friday.
Building off of last year’s state tournament appearance, the team has held high expectations from the start and recently have begun living up to them.
“It’s always good to have more wins than losses,” head coach Kevin Auger joked. “We’re playing together a little bit more and getting more vocal on offense and starting to see the whole field of play.”
Headlined by a strong defense, the Kits’ gameplan is to stick to what they’re good at and capitalize on the other end when they have the chance.
“We work a lot on conditioning, so we can keep playing strong defense and not allow counter attacks. We also have an amazing goalie [Henry Goodman] who saves us if we make a mistake,” senior captain Peter Iachini said.
Iachini and the team know though that, if they want to make a deep playoff push, they need to improve on the offensive side.
“We have very tough teams in our conference this year,” Iachini explained. “We need to work on our offense. We usually know what to do in a situation, but we do it a little bit too slow and miss opportunities to score.”
A lot of those opportunities come off of man up plays. These happen when a player from another team commits a penalty that they then have to serve time for, creating a six on five player advantage, which the Kits’ have struggled to capitalize on all season.
“On our man ups we have to put the ball in the net,” Auger said. “We’ve missed several man ups where we didn’t score and we should have.”
The team looks to use their focus on conditioning to their advantage at upcoming tournaments that feature all deep pools which favor stronger swimmers.
“All deep pools are for people who are in better shape and better swimmers who are able to move the ball a little quick- er,” Auger explained. “Shallow deeps (pools that have a deep end and a shallow end which you can stand on) allow kids who are bigger and stronger but maybe not as strong of swimmers to do things they wouldn’t normally be able to do in an all deep pool.”
Even with this added advantage, the Kits and senior goalie and captain Goodman know that it will be an uphill battle once postseason play begins.
“Right now we are big underdogs and [state] doesn’t look like a strong likelihood,” Goodman explained. “But we know that we have the manpower and potential, it’s just about really working these last few weeks in order to learn how we can utilize it to start getting more wins in the postseason.”
The Kits’ start postseason play next Friday, May 3.