Water polo teams earn wins over Olympus
PCHS coach thinks there’s still much to work on
Following a game with Olympus on Monday evening, Park City High School boys’ water polo assistant head coach Jeff Whipple was stern with his team on the pool deck of the Park City Aquatic Center. He ran through a list of things the team needed to work on, including executing its offense in an effective way.
Park City was dominant throughout its 17-4 win, holding Olympus scoreless until the fourth quarter when the Miners’ third-string line was in the game. Even so, Whipple saw things to improve on. The assistant coach said he has to have high expectations for a team that is the defending Utah High School Water Polo 3A state champions.
“We’re just a much better team where we didn’t have to play really good to win that game,” Whipple said. “When we play against a lesser team, then we can do basically whatever we want and we can still score. Individually, we can dominate. What I’m trying to get us to do is dominate as a team, so when we do play better players, we can play with them.”
The Miners were led by Jack Loyens on Monday night with five goals. Eli Thalos followed with three goals of his own, while Braden Horton, Jack Troxel, Dennis Djunic and Kiyan Mohebbezdi each scored twice. Luke Swanson rounded things out with a single score.
A team that is already confident in its defense, the Park City team is tough to stop when the offense matches its defensive output, Whipple said.
“The strength of our team is trying to get a complete balance of scoring,” Whipple said. “That’s what our system will allow. So then, every defense that [teams] throw at us, we can be effective. That’s what we’re trying to accomplish.”
The girls’ team was also in action on Monday evening, hosting Olympus, as well. Though not in the same dominant manner as the boys’ team, the girls still walked away victorious 12-8 at the Park City Aquatic Center.
The Miners were led by Bella Buchanan, who finished the contest with four goals. Emma Brooks finished with three goals, while Jessi Beyer and Waverly Golden finished with a pair of scores each. Maya Mohebbezdi finished the scoring out with a goal.
After scoring five first-quarter goals to build up a 5-1 cushion, the Miners decided to get some of their seldom-used players into the game. Unfortunately for them, Olympus used that to its advantage by closing the gap to just two within minutes of the Park City starters being removed from the pool.
Both the Park City girls’ and boys’ teams are sitting pretty as the season winds down after Monday evening’s wins. If the teams can hunker down and master the system Whipple mentioned earlier, the coach believes the results will follow.
“We’re super optimistic about the rest of the season,” Dowling said. “We just have to continue to work on executing the offense. Our defense is phenomenal.”
Whipple said that if the girls can execute the offense effectively, they can be the second- or third-best team in the state. For the boys’ team, he believes it can “be the best team by five to six goals” if the Miners learn to master the same system.
Next up, the Park City teams will compete in the Utah Summer Games on April 20-22 at Southern Utah University. Teams from Utah and nearby states will congregate in Cedar City for the weekend event.
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