The Warrior

Water Polo freestyles into the new season

Three+year+head+coach+of+the+water+polo+team+Mathew+O%27Hagan+giving+players+balls+in+practice.
Three year head coach of the water polo team Mathew O'Hagan giving players balls in practice.

Three year head coach of the water polo team Mathew O'Hagan giving players balls in practice.

Photo by Tyreye Morris

Photo by Tyreye Morris

Three year head coach of the water polo team Mathew O'Hagan giving players balls in practice.

By Tyreye Morris, Sport Editor

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Trimming down from 25 players to only 17, the Lane Boys Water Polo team goes into the 2018 season smaller but more focused as they prepare for the new year.

After the team went 8-19 in the 2017 season, Head Coach Matthew O’Hagan goes into 2018 with a smaller roster with players who are serious about improving this season.

Last year we had 25, and that is because of students graduating, and some of it is because of me making tryouts tougher this year because I want athletes to come in and take it more seriously,” O’Hagan said.

Fewer players on the team leads to each athlete competing longer in each match.

Captain William Quan, Div. 855, has been conditioning with the team since the preseason, and has led the charge with helping his team build up endurance.

“We would swim a couple of thousand yards in the morning and [ another thousand yards] before practice,” Quan said.

Besides the number of guys on the roster, nothing has changed within the team’s mindset. There will still be seven Lane players in the pool at a time throwing the ball into the net scoring for their team.

“Schemes have not really change.” O’Hagan said.  “Our schemes are pretty simple, you don’t need complicated schemes to win a match in Illinois you just need players who know where to be and when to be there.”

After three years of playing Hole Set for the team,  which is an offensive position in water polo. Jack Gullickson, Div. 950, believes  his team has a lot of strength but also room for improvement.

“We have a good core group of guys and the younger guys have a lot to learn,” Gullickson said.

Lane finished third in the CPS North Conference in 2017 with a winning record of 4-2 against their conference opponents, a slight drop from their 6-1 conference record from the previous 2016 season.

This drop in standings was also evident in their state rankings, as they were ranked 48th in the state with a 16-13 record in 2016, to being knocked out of the top 50 in the state with a 8-19 record in 2017 according to illpolo.com.

Many of the senior athletes who graduated were key players for water polo and played pivotal roles in the team’s success, and the loss of those players has affected the team’s performance.

“We were pretty good my freshman and sophomore year but we were being carried by two players,” Quan said. “But my junior year we had to learn the game and figure out how to play.”

The team struggled with being held and breaking their opponents’ holds throughout the match. This has become a point of emphasis for Coach O’Hagan this year as they begin the 2018 season.

Last year we had a problem of athletes getting held, so this year we are working on breaking holds and have to drive and get around defenders,” O’Hagan said.

The changes that the team has made has lead the team to a successful start the season. The team has gone 4-1 and holds the number one spot in the CPS North Conference as of March 20.

From the team’s struggles last year and the changes made going into this season senior captain William Quan has only two things he wants to accomplish his final season.

“To score more and to get other guys to score more,” Quan said.

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Water Polo freestyles into the new season