May 25, 2024

OC Sports Zone: Community First

Northwood boys water polo team begins ‘normal’ season with victory over Canyon

Michael Abshier takes a shot for Northwood in Tuesday’s match. (Photo courtesy Troy Witt, For OC Sports Zone)

It was the beginning of a scheduled full season for high school water polo teams Tuesday after a shortened rescheduled winter season due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Northwood made the most of it defeating Canyon 22-6 in a non-league match Tuesday at Northwood.

Sophomore Michael Abshier led the Timberwolves with 10 goals. Senior Danny Kim had five goals while freshman Dean Witt and junior Iacopio Cagnoni each scored two goals.

Seniors Daivik Patel, Ethan Chen and Curtis Sung each scored a goal for Northwood.

Witt had a team high five steals and Cagnoni led the team with five assists. Northwood’s junior goalie Aditya Hari had seven saves and two assists.

Northwood Coach Kyle Kim-E said he went into the match not knowing what to expect. Since many players saw limited duty during the shortened season, which did not include playoffs, they came in with little varsity experience.

“To be honest, I don’t think any of us truly knew how our first game was going to go,” Kim-E said.

He said the squad is a “very inexperienced varsity team this season compared to previous years,” because most of the players saw limited action in the abbreviated season.

“In fact, we only have one player from our 2019 Division 3 semifinals team,” Kim-E said. “So, we have been spending a significant portion of our practices on conditioning and fundamentals. And although we still have a lot to work on, I think this group has been improving and it’s really a credit to their work ethic and resilience.

“Like I said, we still have a lot to work on but this was a nice first game to prove that hard work pays off – hopefully we keep working hard and improving each game.”

Kim-E said he was pleased that the team could return to its normal routines.

“I’m really excited that we were able to finish a ‘normal; summer camp and that we’re having a regular fall season,.” he said. “It took everyone – the kids, families, admin, coaches and more – to make it possible. But, we’re not taking anything for granted either.

“We know that COVID is still a virus that we have to worry about and we’re making sure that we follow all of the necessary precautions put in place such as wearing masks in the weight room and other inside areas where we go over game film, etc.

“My hope is that we are able to compete and finish the fall season without any setbacks, but after the last year and a half, I guess you just never know what could happen. So, my hope is that everyone is ultimately doing their best to follow the precautions they have at their school sites or wherever they’re training/playing and that no one experiences any significant setbacks.”

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timburt@ocsportszone.com