May 27, 2024

OC Sports Zone: Community First

First look at Northwood boys water polo: Coach expecting a ‘slight rebuilding phase’

Cameron An is one of the top returning players for the Timberwolves. (File photo courtesy Michael An, For OC Sports Zone)

Northwood High’s boys water polo team had a memorable season advancing to the semifinal round of the CIF Division 3 playoffs last year.

Many of the players from that team have graduated but Coach Kyle Kim-E remains optimistic about his squad’s chances this season. Northwood moves from Division 3 to the higher Divison 1-2 for the playoffs.

“We have a younger, more inexperienced varsity squad than we have had in the past years,” said Kim-E. “We had 13 seniors that graduated from our program and are going through a slight rebuilding phase.

“Nonetheless, we always adapt to the players that we have in order to create the most effective offensive and defensive systems that we can.”

Northwood lost to Santa Barbara 10-9 in the CIF semifinals last year. It was the first time since 2016 the Timberwolves reached the semifinals.

Under the new CIF plan, boys water polo teams would be able to open the season on Monday, Dec. 21. The season normally starts in August but was postponed because of the coronavirus pandemic.

Among the players to watch are three-year returning starter Cameron An.

Last year’s third leading scorer Cameron has been overshadowed by some high profile players that we’ve had over the past few seasons such as second team All-American Max Abravanel who committed to UCSD,” Kim-E said.

“With Max and all of our other departing seniors, we have a very inexperienced varsity squad for the 2020-21 year. Cameron will bring in the most experience this year and is someone that can do everything. He is a very intelligent player that would setup a lot of opportunities for us; it didn’t matter whether that meant scoring, getting assists, or driving for an exclusion to get some movement.

“This year, look for Cameron: he will undoubtedly be one of our strongest athletes. He has been in talks with several Division 1 colleges to continue his collegiate career.”

Senior Josh Sellwood is another key player, Kim-E said.

“Josh was starting to find some very valuable and crucial minutes for our team last year that made it to the CIF-SS D3 semifinals,” Kim-E said. “Thus, Josh was able to get a lot of great playing experience and was starting to showcase what he can do. Josh is a tough player that works hard on both ends of the ball. I expect him to be one of the leaders of our team and to help us with his outside shot and aggressive defense.”

Kim-E is also looking for a big season from junior Danny Kim.

“Similar to Josh, Danny was getting some minutes and making some good plays for our varsity team last year,” Kim-E said. “It helps that Danny is most likely our fastest athlete and he brings in a wide range of abilities. He is someone that I expect to fill one of our varsity starting spots and someone that will be utilized a lot both offensively and defensively.”

Send water polo news to timburt@ocsportszone.com