Braves Splashed by the Aztecs

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ALHAMBRA, CALIFORNIA– On August 31 the Baldwin Park Braves Varsity Water Polo team played their first game of the season against Mark Keppel’s Aztecs at Barnes Park Community Center, and lost 18-7.

Former professional Serbian water polo player, and now the current coach, Thomas Kersher noted the boys were slightly nervous during warm ups. He sensed it was due to the fact that it was the first game of the season for the boys, and that it was against a team from a higher league.

With a total of 9 attempted shots, plus 7 successful goals, the Braves put in a great deal of effort to make sure this season got off  to a great start.

As the referee’s first whistle sounded for the first quarter, the Braves aggressively attacked from their side of the  pool, in an attempt to gain possession of the ball. After several minutes of intense play, Baldwin Park’s Jacob Robles scored one goal, after breaking through the Aztecs’ defense. The Aztecs made several attempts at shooting into the goal, but Casey Bookers reflexes proved useful as a goalie, and was able to block them, leaving the Braves closely trailing behind 3-1.

After an inspiring talk from his coach, Rudy Muńoz sprinted full force towards the half tank, and captured the ball to bring it into play for the second quarter. Returning team members Isaiah Rangel and Muńoz were each able to make a goal with the assistance of their teammates. The Braves’ offense was strong, but could not penetrate the Aztecs’ defense. By the end of the second quarter, the Aztecs were in the lead with a score of 7-3.

The Braves made a comeback in the third quarter, with a ferocity that stunned the opposing team. Baldwin Park’s Oscar Barragan, Robles, and Rangel all made goals that shot past the reach of the Aztecs’ goalie. Going into the fourth quarter, the Braves made an impressive comeback, with a score of 12-6.

Hoping to even out the score and go to penalty shots, the Braves fought against the tactics used by the Aztecs in the fourth quarter. Pulling through once more, Rangel was able to get in one more goal with only 1:08 left on the clock.

Although the Braves put up an impressive struggle, they were unable to defeat the Aztecs, and settled on a score of 18-7.

Despite the loss, varsity captain Rangel was already analyzing all the issues that occurred in the game the moment he stepped out of the water. After having a post-game huddle with his teammates, Rangel concluded that, “I’m just going to try my hardest, and make sure that everybody else pushes himself, and that they understand what they did right or wrong.”

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