By Lucas Cappelletti
With a current record of 11-4, the JV Aqua Cubs, led by head coach Max Hurst-Mendoza, have gotten off to a strong start, winning five games in a row. Much of the team’s success can be attributed to hard work in practice and in games. The team is also continuing to improve and build camaraderie, according to freshman Parker Honey.
In regards to the team’s bonding and unity, freshman Rene Servin said, “We are developing more and more as a team as the season goes on, and even though we are still getting to know each other, we have built a great team chemistry that is continuing to grow each day.”
The team began its regular season on Thursday, Sept. 3, at home against Peninsula High School where they outscored the Panthers by a score of 25-1. The team was prepared for its contest against Peninsula due to extensive summer training, according to Servin, who said, “All of the summer practices and workouts really showed in our game against Peninsula. All of the hard work we put in paid off in that game.”
On Tuesday, Sept. 8, following the win against Peninsula, the Cubs defeated Ventura High School 10–6. According to freshman Matt Mackel, the Ventura game was a stepping stone leading to success in more difficult games to follow.
After the JV Aqua Cubs defeated Ventura, they went on to participate in the Agoura Tournament Sept. 11–12. In the team’s first matchup of the tournament, the JV Aqua Cubs played against Agoura High School’s frosh-soph team and won 19-0. Later that day, the team defeated Rio Mesa High School by a score of 14-2 and recorded a 16-2 victory against Malibu High School on the next day of the tournament.
Servin commented on the team’s early success in the Agoura Tournament, saying, “We worked hard and definitely put in the time to win those games.”
The Cubs capped the tournament with a 6-4 victory over the Harvard-Westlake Wolverines. “The [Harvard-Westlake] game was an eye opener,” Mackel commented, “We were prepared, and we played smart as a team and didn’t make many mistakes. We came out as hard as we could, and we truly produced. However, Harvard-Westlake put up a fight, which made it a tough game to win, but we came out on top.”
After outlasting Harvard-Westlake, the Cubs were finally defeated by Lutheran High School 9-7. On the team’s first loss, Honey said, “We weren’t in the right mindset, and we weren’t prepared to face such a challenge.” Coach Hurst-Mendoza added, “We didn’t come out with enough intensity which really hurt our play in the game.”
On Sept. 18–19, the Cubs participated in the Long Beach Wilson JV tournament. The Cubs defeated Murrieta Valley on the first day by a score of 8-7, but fell to the Harvard-Westlake Wolverines 7-5 the following day.
Over the same weekend, the Cubs played in the Long Beach Millikan tournament, losing to Foothill 8-3 on Sept. 18 and defeating Palos Verdes 16-5 on Sept. 19.
On Thursday Oct. 1 the Cubs faced Agoura High School for a second time and lost 8-6. Servin commented on the game, “We had a rough start in the first half and only started to build momentum in the second quarter.”
Honey added, “It was hard to come back from a 2-0 deficit, but once we repeatedly started to make goals, the team moral raised.”
Following the win on Thursday, the Cubs played again on Friday Oct. 2, defeating the Cathedral Catholic Dons, 10-4. According to Honey, the team was well prepared and in the right mindset mostly because of the team wanted to come out with a victory following the loss to Agoura.
On Saturday Oct. 3, Loyola lost 6-5 to Coronado. Servin commented on the loss saying, “We should’ve and could’ve won the match. We just made several passing and shooting mistakes which really ended up hurting us at the end of the game.”
As the season passes the halfway point, the JV water polo team will continue the season with some important matches against Mater Dei on Wednesday, Oct. 28, and Mira Costa on Thursday, Nov. 5.