Greenwich High School hosted the annual Cardinal Tournament for boys’ water polo on October 14 and 15. The competition was fierce as many talented teams participated: Staples, Greenwich, Brunswick, and Chelsea Piers. Staples kicked off the tournament Friday night against one of the toughest opponents on the east coast, Greenwich YMCA Aquatics.
The final score of the game was Greenwich Aquatics 19, Staples 5. The winner of this year’s two-day tournament, for the 16th straight season, was Greenwich High School with an overall season record of 15-3- 1.
Staples fought a hard match against Greenwich YMCA. Playing against such fierce competition is surely to get the team riled up for the remainder of the season.
In the first quarter, Greenwich took an early lead.They scored five consecutive goals within five minutes. With less than two minutes remaining in the first quarter, Quinn Wagner #17 scored. At the end of the first quarter, Greenwich led 6 to 1.
In the second quarter, Greenwich was still very strong on the offensive side scoring 4 more times in the second quarter. About halfway through the second, Staples broke through. Brian Penwell #16 took a long, hard shot from half-pool and it careened off the water into the top of the goal with the Wreckers scoring a second point.
In the beginning of the third quarter, Staples turned up the heat and put pressure on their competitor. First, Penwell made another long distance shot into goal to make the score 10 to 3. A few minutes later Wagner #17 scored his second goal over the goalie’s head for a score of 10 to 4. Greenwich then concerned with the closing gap retaliated with six more goals. Wagner scored a hat trick at the end of the third period, bringing another point to Staples for a score of 16 to 5.
“I think that it was a very tough game,” Kiran Nandagopal ’18 said. “Fundamentally we could have done better, but against such a good team it’s hard to do your best. Our team did well at moving the ball and creating chances. Now we need to work on capitalizing on those chances so we can start putting up more points.”
Greenwich is a strong town for water polo. While California dominates the sport in the United States, outside of California, Greenwich is the hub. The Greenwich YMCA launched their water polo program in 2007, opening an Olympic-sized pool at the facility. The women’s U.S. Olympic team included Greenwich as one of their stops this summer for water polo practice in advance of the games in Brazil. The USA Men’s National Water Polo team included an 18-year old named Thomas Dunstan from Greenwich YMCA.
“Greenwich Aquatics is definitely one of the better teams in the state (they have sent players to the olympic team)” Scott Adler said. “I think that we did really well considering the amount of subs we had and the fact that we don’t train year round”.
Staples goalie, Mitchell Payne #1, made many amazing saves from a very aggressive
Greenwich team. Staples offense worked hard throughout the game, but was up against a strong goalie able to deflect many very good shots on goal. Staples defense fought hard to hold back the skillful Greenwich offense.
“We got off to a slow start, but we showed a lot of fight and we were able to get back in the game”, Will Casey ’18 said. “We have achieved some of our goals for the season. We already have more wins than last season, so that shows an improvement. And this team, in terms of skill set and ability has really made a huge improvement from last year. We just want to go out, compete, and play hard and smart for the entire game. If we are able to do that, I feel that we have a great opportunity to win a lot of games the rest of the season.”
“It’s a lot of fun managing for them, and the team is very much a family both to me and to each other”, manager, Marta Clanton ’17, said. “They are very inclusive of the new players, always practice together, and work to get better as a collective whole.”
The next home game is on Wednesday, October 19th at 3:00pm against Brunswick School followed by a game at 5:00 against Greenwich.