Boys’ Water Polo Captures Ayala Title, Improves Record to 6-0


Alexis Alexander

Lee Bullock, senior, attacks the La Habra High School goal at the Aug. 30 varsity contest at the BOHS pool. The Wildcats prevailed, 17-6.

With four wins on Saturday at the Ayala Tournament, boys’ varsity water polo not only captured the tournament’s division championship, but improved to 6-0 on the season. 

The Wildcats set the tone for the tournament with a resounding 25-18 win against Arcadia High School in the opener. A 21-11 victory against Bonita High School, and a narrow 12-10 win over Rancho Cucamonga in the semifinals, led the Wildcats to the tournament championship and a matchup against Roosevelt High School.  The Wildcats prevailed 11-8, sweeping the four games, and keeping their perfect record intact. 

Lee Bullock, senior, led the Wildcat attack with four goals, and Gavin Templeton, freshman, had three goals. 

“Although our defense isn’t where we want it to be, it won us the tournament and we are extremely proud to represent Brea Olinda,” Matthew Grudichak, senior, said.

The Wildcats started their season with a 12-8 win against Glendora High School on Aug. 26. Seniors Matthew Grudichak and Daniel Franks led the Wildcats with four goals apiece.

The season-opening win was followed by a blowout victory against La Habra High School in the Wildcats’ first home game of the season. Six Wildcats scored in the 17-6 win over the visiting Highlanders.

Mason Fisher, junior, attributes the teams’ hot start to preparation. Fisher said that the team “practices [frequently], watching and going over previously filmed games” to catch their mistakes as well as identify areas of improvement. Being well prepared instills confidence and motivation “so we know what to do better for the next game.” 

But being prepared physically and strategically hasn’t been the only reason for the team’s perfect start. 

Franks acknowledged that the team is a tight-knit group, which creates advantages during competition. “If somebody messes up a rep or somebody misses a shot, we all just say ‘don’t worry about it’ and encourage them to [improve] in the next play,” Franks said.

The teams’ camaraderie has also allowed them to efficiently “communicate better in the water,” Fisher said. “You have to be open to talking to everybody.”

The Wildcats’ perfect record will be put to the test on Tuesday when they face 5-1 Los Altos High School in Hacienda Heights at 3:15 p.m. Los Altos improved their record to 5-0 with an 11-7 win over Glendale High School on Sept. 4.

Along with the goal of remaining undefeated, the varsity water polo’s primary goal is to win a CIF championship. “Our team had been working hard every day leading up to this season. This is only the beginning, and we all are looking forward to great things this year,” Jackson Pearson, junior, said.

Corrections: An earlier version of this story stated that the Los Altos game will be held at the Wildcat pool. The game is at Los Altos High School. Since posting, Los Altos updated their record to include a loss to Portola High School on Sept. 3.