The Varsity Water Polo team hopes to rebuild their team this season, while achieving success throughout the process.
“We graduated a big group of seniors last year,” Swim and Water Polo Coach Michael Duffy said. This year’s team is young and led by Donny Howard (12) in goal, Duffy said. The team has some great juniors joining Varsity, and some underclassmen who have stepped up to fill the void of the seniors who graduated last year, Eli Scher (11) said.
Walker McCarthy (10) and Max Chasin (9) have particularly stepped up to compete on the Varsity level and they have done a great job with what the team needs them to do, Ari Salsberg (11) said.
“They are both phenomenal players who excel in their technique and knowledge of the game even though they are on the younger half the team,” Salsberg said.
“Lowell Finster (11) and Taimur Moolji (12) have stepped up for the team,” Jonathan Mong (11) said.
Players such as Salsberg, Moolji, and Finster will likely have to step up to play offense and defense in ways they haven’t in previous years due to new openings in positions left by last year’s seniors, Scher said.
The team’s dynamic is positive because many of the players on the team are close outside of practice, Mong said. “The team dynamic is also pretty loose and there is a lot of joking around,” he said.
“We’re all great friends, but a lot of people are also willing to give each other advice on technique and strategy during drills and scrimmages,” Scher said.
Everyone on the team is driven, Salsberg said. “The upperclassmen are doing a very good job of making the underclassmen feel welcomed by serving as leaders and mentors for some of the newer players,” he said.
“The early practices have been intense, as preseason often is, with lots of swimming and leg drills to get us conditioned coming into the season. However, shooting and passing drills in addition to scrimmages have been fun,” Scher said.
“Some personal goals are to improve physical strength, decision making, and defense, while keeping my offense at the same level if not improving it,” Mong said.
The team plays in an all-deep pool, while most teams have a shallow end, Salsberg said. This means that when the team plays at home, it’s harder for the opposing team because they aren’t used to not being able to stand up, he said.
“In order to use the deep pool to our advantage, we must improve our fitness and endurance as an entire team,” Salsberg said.
The team’s goal for the season is to work hard and have fun, Duffy said.
Scher said that for the first time, the Varsity team will be playing in an official Ivy League, as well as NYSAIS, so winning either or both would be huge for the previously dominant team to establish themselves.