Boys water polo hopes to make CIF once again

The Aztecs work together to block a shot. Pictured (from left to right): Senior Kyndall Ting (17), Senior Mark Wang (5), Junior Justin Young (12), Junior Emanuel Acosta (14), Senior Matthew Chan (3), and Senior Stanley Yu (1). THE AZTEC/DARWIN TSE
The Aztecs work together to block a shot. Pictured (from left to right): Senior Kyndall Ting (17), Senior Mark Wang (5), Junior Justin Young (12), Junior Emanuel Acosta (14), Senior Matthew Chan (3), and Senior Stanley Yu (1). THE AZTEC/DARWIN TSE

With Almont League matches looming just around the corner, the Mark Keppel Boys Water Polo team is working intensely to perfect their play. After missing CIF qualifications by only a hair last year, the Aztecs have every intention to not let that happen once again.

“Our main goal is to make CIF,” said Mark Wang, captain of the Varsity Boys Water Polo team. The Aztecs hope to achieve that goal as they did in 2013, after missing out on CIF by two points last year.

This year’s team has five returning varsity members: Seniors Mark Wang, Stanley Yu, Sheldon Dong, Matthew Chan, and Junior Justin Young. Juniors Bryan Guan, Emanuel Acosta, Christopher Hunt, and Senior Kyndall Ting were brought up from the junior varsity team, and Seniors Thomas Ho and Lance Oh are first year varsity members.

Along with a new team composition, the boys water polo team also has a new coach, Wendy Centeno. The new team is currently preparing for the Almont League through preseason matches against schools such as Sierra Vista and South Pasadena. However, after their loss, 12-1, against Arcadia High School on Monday, September 14, the Aztecs’ main takeaway from their game was to work on their defense. The Aztecs got off to a rough first quarter, 0-5, but step up their defense the rest of the game.

“They only scored twice during second, third, and fourth quarter because we stepped it [our defense] up,” said senior Stanley Yu. “If we stepped it up the entire game, they wouldn’t have scored as many points.”

Under the leadership of Coach Centeno, the Aztecs are working hard during practice, which consists of practicing passing the ball, scrimmaging against each other, and conditioning.

“We also set up some competitive ways to practice against each other, and we do some trust exercises so the boys can communicate better and trust each other,” said Centeno. “I know we’re going to have a great season, these boys have been working really hard.”

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