Water Polo’s 10-Game Win Streak Ends in Loss to Mustangs

Tyler+Peterson%2C+junior%2C+rises+out+of+the+water+to+take+a+shot+on+goal+against+Fullerton+High+School+on+Sept.+14.+The+Wildcats+escaped+with+a+13-12+win.+

Alexis Alexander

Tyler Peterson, junior, rises out of the water to take a shot on goal against Fullerton High School on Sept. 14. The Wildcats escaped with a 13-12 win.

After opening the season with 10 straight wins, boys’ varsity water polo experienced its first loss of the season, a 18-10 setback to Yorba Linda High School, on Sept. 16.  

“Going into this game we knew it was going to be a tough one and we were expecting it to be,” Matthew Grudichak, senior, said. “Yorba Linda is a very solid team and they came out really strong and it just showed that they wanted it more.” 

Yorba Linda led for the duration of the game. Grudichak attributed the Wildcats’ struggles against the Mustangs to avoidable “little mistakes.”

The win was the Mustang’s 11th of the year. The Wildcats season-opening 10-game win streak was snapped and they fell to 10-1.

While the loss marred the team’s quest for an undefeated season, they didn’t dwell on the outcome. “We go into every game expecting to win,” Grudichak said. “Our plan is to forget about the game and keep moving forward. We can’t afford to be stuck on a game in the past because it won’t change anything.”

Jackson Pearson, junior, added, “We will all come out stronger in the games to come.” 

Prior to the loss, the Wildcats defeated Glendale High School, 19-8. Seniors David Loyarte, Daniel Franks, and Lee Bullock scored four goals each. Grudichak, freshman Gavin Templeton, and juniors Pearson and Mason Fisher, each scored goals for the Wildcats.

The Wildcats’ nine-game winning streak was tested in a scare against Fullerton High School on Sept. 14, but they eked out a 13-12 win behind some late-game heroics from the squad’s seniors.

“We didn’t have many of our starters in for the first [half], so in the fourth quarter [the coaches] put a lot of seniors in,” Derek Maddox, freshman, said.

Seniors scored 11 of the team’s 13 goals, with Bullock scoring four times; Franks scoring three times; Grudichak scoring twice; and Noah Chung and Loyarte contributing a goal apiece. Pearson also contributed a pair of goals in the one-point win.  

“We all kind of had this sense that if we wanted to win the game [the seniors] had to step up,” Franks said. 

The Wildcats face non-league foes Servite, Valencia, and Trabuco Hills high schools between Sept. 21 and Sept. 24 before North Hills League play begins on Sept. 28 against El Dorado High School at the Wildcat pool.