Author: Emily Phillips
On Nov. 5, after four years of hard work and dedication, seniors Cameron Brahmst, Abiel Garcia, Sean Inoue, John Wensman and Andrew Valdes said goodbye to Taylor Pool. In their third and final home game of the 2008 season, Men’s Water Polo trounced the Caltech Beavers, each of the seniors scoring at least one goal in the 26-4 victory.
The win gives the team a 4-2 record in SCIAC, 12-13 overall. They are tied for second place in Conference with Pomona-Pitzer and Claremont-Mudd-Scripps.
The seniors were excited about the blow-out against Caltech, but were somewhat disappointed that they did not end their home-game career with a more competitive game. According to the players, Head Coach Larry Zubrin’s strategy was to use this game to develop first-years and other players who normally do not get substantial playing time.
“Coach told us to play hard, but play smart so that we don’t injure ourselves for future SCIAC games,” Inoue said.
This strategy certainly allowed the young Tigers to show their offensive skills. Richard Dybas (first-year) scored his first five goals in college water polo. Co-captains Brahmst and Garcia both said that Dybas’s goals were the highlight of the game.
Going into the game, Dybas said he just wanted “to have fun, and take advantage of playing more than normal.”
Brendan Whitmore (first-year) scored two goals and drew two ejections while Tai McDermott (first-year) scored one goal and had four assists. Even goalie Blair Bergsteinsson (junior) got a chance to play in the field, scoring one goal.
The Tigers were also very competitive on the defensive end, with numerous steals throughout the game. Bergsteinsson had a game-high of five steals and four blocks in the goal, and goalie Max Kelly (junior), who holds the school record with 20 blocks, saved three more against Caltech last Saturday.
All five seniors played together for the end of the fourth quarter while students in the crowd cheered them on. “We’ve been moving at such a fast pace that I haven’t had time to really sit down and realize that I have played my last game at Occidental College,” Inoue said.
“I will miss the pool and all the memories that come along with it,” Garcia said.
One aspect of the match-up that made the seniors think about how they have grown as players and a team since their first year at Oxy was that Caltech’s head coach is Oxy Water Polo alum Josh Moser ’06. The seniors played with him when he was a senior at Oxy and were happy to see him still involved in SCIAC Water Polo.
Even with little playing time, Brahmst said his goal was to keep Caltech from scoring and to play mistake-free water polo.The Tigers agreed that the seniors will be sorely missed next season because of their work ethic and the team’s camaraderie. However, losing them will allow the younger players to step up and take on leadership positions.
“We have great team chemistry and help each other maintain focus while having a good time,” Kelly said.
“[We] may not have super fast swimmers or extraordinary ball handlers, but we do have a work ethic not matched by any other team,” Garcia said. “That, combined with our closeness as a team has really moved us into the winners circle.”
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