Water polo teams cap impressive week with wins over Brighton
The Park City High School boys’ team also defeated Kearns on Tuesday
The Park City High School boys’ and girls’ water polo teams took to the pool for contests with Brighton at the Park City Aquatic Center on Wednesday evening.
The girls’ team was first in action, besting the visiting team 17-8, while the boys’ team quickly followed suit with a win of its own, 12-6. Both Park City teams jumped out to early leads, allowing head coach Josh Loyens to play a high number of athletes, including some JV ones.
“It’s great [to get the wins],” Loyens said. “The JV has to step up a lot in those games. Usually, the Varsity comes out pretty quick in a game like that. They kind of run away with it and then, the JV has a chance to come up and play and show what they can do.”
A win’s a win, which is good for any team. However, this wasn’t the Park City boys’ best performance this week. On Tuesday, the day before the contests against Brighton, when the Miners traveled to Kearns, a water polo powerhouse, and blew them out of the water.
Kearns hasn’t lost a game in more than five years, Park City assistant head coach Jeff Whipple said. The team also won the last 11 4A state championships. Though the two teams don’t meet in the playoffs (Park City is 3A and Kearns is 4A), it’s clear Kearns is the measuring stick in terms of program success.
One of the many goals heading into the season was to beat Kearns in a single game and the Miners did that with an 11-6 win on Tuesday.
“It was amazing,” Loyens said of the win. “I’ve been coaching Park City Water Polo for three and a half years and [beating Kearns has] been something that we always knew we wanted to accomplish. The goal is to be No. 1 and to beat every team. It was awesome to be able to come out and win it.”
The players were just as excited about the victory.
“They were stoked,” Loyens said. “They loved it. They absolutely knew they had it in them.”
The Park City girls’ team was unable to top its Kearns counterparts, a team that has won 11 state championships, including the last three at the 4A level. But Park City doesn’t feel it’s far away from pulling off the same accomplishment the boys’ team did on Tuesday evening.
“They need more fluidity with the ball,” Loyens said of the girls’ team. “They need to pass the ball around more. They’re in a pretty good spot defensively. They’ve just got to be able to do more on offense. … They’ll be looking good by the end of the season.”
Though beating Kearns was a big accomplishment, there’s still much of the season left to be played, including future contests and potential revenge games against Kearns. The trouble for Loyens is making sure that his team is ready to go for each and every game, no matter who they’re playing.
“There’s always more competition,” Loyens said. “We have to make sure that, even a game that can be a blowout or a team we know we’re going to beat, [the players] have to make sure they stick to fundamentals, make clean passes and do everything right.”
Next up for the Miners are bouts with Herriman on Saturday, April 1. The girls’ game is scheduled to start at 8 a.m., while the boys will follow shortly after at 9 a.m.
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Park City native Sebastian Saucedo fulfilled his dream of playing for his local team. Now he’s trying to take a step forward playing in Mexico.