Rough waters in the pool

BOYS WATERPOLO The Brahmas start off the Palomares League slow, beginning 1-4.


Photos by AMELIE LEE

The Brahmas defeated the Tartans 7-5 after adjusting their lineup due to injury.

Samyuktha Vellaiyan, Staff Writer

Aspiring to transcend the outcome of last year’s awe-inspiring season, the Diamond Bar High School boys water polo team sees major improvements as critical to its continued success, and has changed the practice routine to work on weaknesses.

The Brahmas finished the preseason with two strong wins against teams from Los Amigos, 11-3, and Norco, 11-8.

However, the Brahmas have yet to find their stride since the team began league and tournament play. In their league opener, DB lost to Bonita, 9-3, but won its second league game against Glendora, 7-5.

On Sept. 22 and 23, the Brahmas held the Diamond Bar tournament on campus. Though the team won against San Dimas and Hemet, 9-3 and 11-4, the boys lost against Crescenta Valley, 16-4 and lost two games against Murrieta Mesa and Sonora, 16-12 and 11-9, respectively.

“Even though we jumped two divisions for CIF-SS, we are able to compete with teams within our division. But I think both games [against Sonora and Murrieta Mesa] could have gone either way,” head coach Alexander Matal said via email.

Use links below to save image.
Junior Brandon Lin looks for an opening in a match against the Glendora Tartans.

Learning from past league games and tournaments, the coaching staff has pushed to implement adjustments with a completely different practice system. Since their main goal is to practice body positioning and techniques to take away position, the coaches have enforced  defensive one-on-one drills. Furthermore, the staff has modified practices by making defenders complete drills together while the main offensive players work on improving their offensive repertoire.

“The coaches have started to have more individualized practices to improve each player’s strength, and sometimes we get punishments, like doing push-ups for messing up,” junior Matthew Kim said.

The new practices have helped the team’s performance and confidence, as the boys beat the Glendora Tartans, who in past years defeated DB by a wide margin. According to Matal, the lineup changes for their game against Glendora also helped the team win the game.

The team has already experienced a major injury with one of their best scoring options, junior Christian Cheung, being out with a concussion. With the absence of Cheung, the team had to prepare differently.

“Because I am the person who’s supposed to assist most of the shots and start offensive plays, our team had to adjust their positions a little bit for the time I was gone,” Cheung said.

As the Brahmas advance through the season, they hope to advance to CIF-SS. The team needs to finish with an even record or above in case CIF accepts additional teams that do not receive an automatic entry through league play.

“Every game and every tournament we play affects our season because they’re games that count towards our season, and it shows how we need to work hard in every single one of our games,” Kim said.

Even though the team’s goal is to compete in CIF, they look forward to team bonding as they compete in multiple games.

“I personally am looking forward to having those games where we dominate the other team because we built up our team chemistry and will finally be able to play at the best of our abilities together,” Kim said.

The boys lost their last two league matches against Ayala and Claremont, 15-2 and 8-7. The team faced Bonita on Monday and will travel to compete in the San Diego Open tournament from Oct. 19 to Oct. 21.