It’s a regular day for most people, school just got out, and people are at ease except for the water polo boys team for the water polo team, their concerns are “Is the weather going to be good?!’ or “I wonder if the other team is good?”. It is the district game for the guys and girls water polo teams. They are going against Apopka high school. The before; practice and the boys team watching the girls play. To during; where they make their points and avoid shock blocks. To after the game; where they talk about what they did. This game specifically, the guys won with a pretty big point gap. 29 to eight, with this district game win on their backs, it will allow them to go on to their second district game and then on to regionals where they will be going against Boone high school, Seminole high school, and Lake Mary high school.
The boys water polo team takes time to prepare themselves mentally for the game against Apopka ahead while on the side of the pool watching the girls team play their game against the girls Apopka team. Watching the girls game gives them a general idea on how hard the game is going to be because usually when the girls team wins, the water polo boys will usually beat the other school's boys’ team. “Because that's just how it usually works. On rare occasions the guys team is actually worse than the girls team but they usually never happen, relatively speaking.” said sophomore Jagger Van der Sanden. “We’re just cheering and watching the girls’ team.”
Junior William Parnell, sophomore Justis Lall, sophomore Grant Shackelford, and sophomore Jagger Van der Sanden have gotten into the water. They are talking about how the game is going between the girls teams while practicing their treading and about to move on to passing practice while they joke around. They are doing this in order to prepare for their own game which will be happening right after. “We are watching our girls team have a great game against Apopka to win their district championship” said sophomore Justis Lall.
Before every game the water polo boys team must practice in order to be in the best shape they can to prepare for the game, especially this one. This game is their first district game which determines if they move on to their second district game, and so on and so forth, as Joshua Zeffren partners with Evan Morgan and Grant Shakelford in a passing exercise that helps them with passing the ball and throwing the ball into the goal. Their warm up consists of 300 freestyles, 200 breaststroke, and 100 treads as well as many other things that will help them play and have better chances of scoring points and improving their chances moving forward. “I’m warming up my passing to beat Apopka.” said junior Joshua Zefferen.
Right after the girls' game, the boys water polo team are preparing for the swim off. Every game has its own way of starting. Basketball has throwing the ball up into the air, rowing has the flag, and Water Polo has a swim off. A swim off is when each team lines up on ends of the pool on which they are playing. The referee will blow the whistle and drop the ball into the water. A swimmer from each team races to the middle and tries to get the ball. Whoever gets it throws it to their team and that's when the true game begins. They do this in order to determine which team gets the ball first in the fairest way possible. “Nothing better than living life while winning with the boys” junior Sage Sungail.
Right before the game begins, coach Dhugal Gardener talks to the boys' team about the strategies, tactics, as well as techniques that they will use to try and win the game ahead of them. This is the moment that they have been practicing for and they are ready to make as many points as possible in order to move on to the next district game. The team members that play whole D and whole set talk to the head coach, who is Gardener, while the goalie gets input from goalie coach Spenser Nampon, on how he will block the incoming future balls that are meant to make points for the opposite team. They are getting ready to fight for the win. “We were talking to Dhugal about how we are going to play.” said freshman Evan Morgan.
At the beginning of every game, both the boys and girls teams need to get nail checked, they have to do this in order to make sure they do not hurt or scratch anyone while in the middle of a play when they’re in the water. The referee will come by while the boys put their hands out and double check to make sure no one has nails that are too long to play. If the referee sees that the players’ nails are too long then they will be excluded from the game. “We’re getting nail checked right before we move on to slaughter Apopka.” sophomore Grant Shackelford said.
The audience is watching the water polo boys' team game in excitement while they score numerous points and block many goals made by the other team. The referee walks back and forth to get a feel of the whole pool and decides what plays he wants to make based on how the players are doing. They wait for the referee to make the calls to determine which side gets the points and which side will end up as the victor. They are waiting for a team to score a clean shot while Lake Brantley has the lead.
Between every quarter while the goals get reset or when sides are switching, the boys' water polo team come over to the side of the pool to discuss what is happening or what is going to happen in the following quarter, with the goalie coach Spenser Nampon, and head coach Dhugal Gardener, and discuss what their players can improve on. They do this to improve their play through. “Ok so between quarters everyone comes to the wall and all the field players go to listen to Dhugal and the goalie comes and listens to me. I tell him what he’s doing wrong and what to fix moving into the next quarter.” said Spenser Nampo.
A shot was made, the referee called it as a point for the Lake Brantley boys team. When a shot is made, the ball has to be in the net along with being below the crossbar. Before junior Sage Sungail made his shot, freshman Evan Morgan launched from the other side and gave it to sophomore Grant Shackelford. Making a point that eventually helped them win the game. In fact, a team can only have possession of the ball for 30 seconds before they try to make a goal. If the ball rebounds then the clock gets reset again and the 30 seconds begin. “Well Sage, 11, just shot but before we shot. I drove from the other side to the flat and passed it onto Grant.” Said freshman Evan Morgan
During the district game going against Apopka high school, the boys' water polo team are taking a timeout in order to discuss their play for the following quarter. Sophomore Jagger Van der Sanden is listening to some feedback from the seniors as well as coach Dhugal Gardener. The younger players on the team that were playing in the quarter and are now talking to the older players and coach for some input on their previous play. “It’s the end of a quarter so Dhugal is making us group up” sophomore Jagger Van Dar said “and he talks about Game strategies and what we should do for the next quarter” said sophomore Jagger Van der Sanden.
After the final shot was taken and the Lake Brantley Boys team won the game; 29 to eight, the players met up on the wall of the pool. The water polo boys that were just playing, the boys that were on the bench and coach Dhugal Gardener, followed by an encouraging statement for the team, are about to discuss what happened during the game and what they could improve on for their next game and all the games to follow. Although the seniors did not play as much in this game, they listen to the input in order to improve themselves. “We’re meeting at the wall. It's the end of the game and Dhugal is encouraging the younger kids.” said Isaac Herman.