Water polo surges past competition

Closing off the season strong, Diamond Bar High School boys water polo is currently in the top five of the CIF League Champions.

“A highlight to me is that we lost to Bonita [High School] earlier this season and then a few weeks later, we were able to bounce back and win,” head coach Gary Cheever said.

The boys water polo team did indeed suffer a loss against Bonita on August 18, but the team was able to have a rematch in September, resulting in a close yet successful game, 13-12. The team’s success was in part contributed by diligent practices and new drills introduced by Cheever. 

“Drills we focused on included six-on-five, which is a power play and our defense,” Cheever said.

Six-on-fives are used when teams want to make offensive plays, utilizing the sixth player after a 20-second timer to score points. Despite having a strong offense, a recurring problem for the boys water polo team is defense; the team hopes to strengthen its defensive side by practicing ball passes and guarding to counter the stronger teams in the league playoffs. 

As the fall season comes to an end, Cheever and the team are preparing to remain at the top position for next year’s schedule as well as for their future League Championship title.

“Next year’s team is probably going to be a smaller line-up; we’re going to play [in] a smaller block, ” Cheever said. “It’s going to be a faster pace so we’re going to need to be a little faster to play the style that I want… Our skill set matches a fast-paced game.”

Among the starting line-up of new varsity team members, three underclassmen have been highlighted by Cheever for their outstanding performances both in practice and in game: sophomore Naz Longoria and freshmen Diego Solis and Matthew Arauz.

“Looking ahead, [being on the varsity team] is really going to prepare [the underclassmen] for leadership roles,” said Cheever. “That’s the biggest highlight for me as a coach, seeing the underclassmen being able to step up and being able to impact big, important games.” 

The boys water polo team had a successful season despite the large influx of underclassmen and busy game schedule. In fact, the team defeated Rowland Heights High School 23-12 on October 20, Rowland Heights’s senior night, and is now second place in the Mt. Baldy League Championship.