Staying Afloat

For the first time in school history, boys water polo wins the CIF Championship

Boys water polo made RUHS history on Saturday, Nov. 11 when the team beat Walnut with a score of 10-7 to clinch the CIF championship title for the first time in school history.

The team believes that their determination was the biggest factor that lead them to victory.

“Our heart made us win the game. We wanted it really bad. We were all nervous before and wanted it more than the other team. It felt really good to win with this particular group of people because some of my best friends are on the team and to go through all the work, it was pretty exciting,” senior captain Blake Vogelsang said.

The team also credits all the hard work they put in, not only this season but in all the years they have been on water polo.

“We put in a lot of work and it felt nice to get some recognition and a reward,” senior captain Seth Ulrich said.

Walnut was up by two in the third quarter, and Redondo didn’t secure a solid lead until the fourth quarter.

“When we were down, we were chasing. They would score, we would chase back and then at that point it was sheer will,” Ulrich said.

A goal from sophomore Gavin Pierce in the third quarter was said to be the turning point of the game. Sophomore goalie, Camilo Munoz also had 11 saves in goal to help the team claim the win.

“It was the very end of third quarter and there was a second left on the clock. Blake shot and Gavin caught the rebound and put it into the goal. That put the momentum up, and we scored two quick goals after that so we were up by three. That’s when I knew we were pretty close and we were probably going to win,” Munoz said.

Not only the intensity of the game, but the atmosphere of CIF added to the pressure for the team.

“It’s definitely high-stress level. With Blake and I being team captains, you have to keep everyone and even the coach under control. You have a lot of people there watching you. It’s like you’re the only chance we have of a win and luckily we came through,” Ulrich said.

After four successful games to get them to the finals, the team had confidence throughout the whole last game.

“We had to go in with confidence. We weren’t cocky but going into the game with confidence really helped us. We expected to win that game. You look into the crowd for us and it’s just a wave of red. It’s crazy how many people came out to support us. You can either use the crowd or tone them out,” Vogelsang said.

For the seniors, this was the best way to end their high school water polo careers. Coach Chris Murin knows the win will bond the team even more.

“He told us that because of this game and our win, we were going to be bonded for life and hopefully that’s true. It’s a nice motivational story to have,” Ulrich said.