Prep Water Polo: GHS boys, girls look to build off last season

Gilroy's Ariane Lussier tries to block a shot by Christopher during their game Tuesday at Christopher High School.

GILROY—The Gilroy boys water polo team ended last season on a high note. After losing to San Lorenzo Valley four times over the past two seasons, the Mustangs finally beat the Cougars 11-10 in the Monterey Bay League consolation playoffs—their final game of the year.
The Gilroy boys—who went 1-12 in the regular season—went 2-1 in the postseason and coach Fred Latimore is hoping the momentum carries over into this season.
“I think it was a big confidence boaster for our boys and it really sort of sets the tone for this season which is great,” Latimore said.
The girls team also struggled, finishing 1-13 overall, but didn’t find the same postseason push the boys squad did. Latimore said he’s optimistic the girls will be able to turn things around as they have a plethora of returners who bring a wealth of experience. Alma Maya, Kayla Reeder, Natalie Garcia, Marissa Olimpo, Vanessa Marquez, Yvonna Marin, Adrianna Figone and Ariane Lussier will all be back for the girls. Many of them were also part of the Mustangs’ swim team which should improve their conditioning and strength in the water. Lussier was especially vital for the girls last season and Latimore said he’s hoping the junior will step up the fill the void left by Abby Kienle and Katty Clark, the Mustangs girls’ leading scorers last season.
“Defensively, Ariane did a tremendous job for us last year. She had a ton of steals for us and just was really strong for us defensively,” he said. “I think she’ll probably be ready to make the shift to be a little more dominate on offense. There’s certainly the gap that we have losing those two seniors. I’ll definitely be looking to her to continue to be dominate on both sides of the ball.”
The boys will also see a slew of players return which Latimore believes will definitely help them pick up where they left off. Standouts such as seniors Brandon Reimer and Sam Madel—who both swam for the Mustangs during the prep swimming season—will bring much needed speed for the Mustangs’ transition game. They will be joined by junior goalie Richy Bermea, Ming Nguyen, Jonathan Camazano and Ben Reeder.
“Offensively and defensively the boys will be pretty sound because of the amount of veteran players that we have coming back,” Latimore said. “I’m excited to see what they can do. They really turned it on at the end of the year. You could see the boys getting better game after game; the progress was really impressive.”
While there are a lot of familiar faces in the pool, Gilroy is finding it difficult to draw new ones. It looks as if each team will just be able to field varsity teams—as not enough have turned out for JV squads—but it’s hoping to draw more fresh faces to help replace the numbers lost from the graduating seniors when full workouts begin Aug. 15.
Both teams begin their seasons on Sept. 4 at San Lorenzo Valley. The girls play at 5 p.m., the boys at 6 p.m. While the girls’ biggest games of the year will come against Christopher—which the team will play at 4 p.m. Sept. 9 at home and at 5 p.m. Oct. 7 at CHS—the boys will play one of their biggest games right out of the gate.
“I know they’re (San Lorenzo Valley) going to want a little bit of retribution,” Latimore said. “No one likes to go out losing their last game, so that’ll be fun.”
The Mustangs kick off their seasons Sept. 4 at San Lorenzo Valley. The girls will play at 5 p.m., the boys at 6 p.m.
Read about the Christopher water polo teams here.

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