May 22, 2024

OC Sports Zone: Community First

PHOTOS: Northwood, led by Cameron An, starts fast and tops Portola 14-7 in PCL opener

Cameron An takes a shot for Northwood in Thursday’s match against Portola. (Photos courtesy Northwood water polo, Michael An)

Northwood High’s boys water polo team began its delayed 2021 season with a 14-7 victory over Portola Thursday in the Pacific Coast League opener for both teams at Portola.

The season, originally scheduled to begin in August, was delayed because of the coronavirus pandemic but teams in Orange County were given the go-ahead to start the season, which runs until Saturday, March 20. All players had to go through mandatory COVID-19 testing and safety precautions were followed.

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General policy from the California Department of Public Health allows for allows only immediate family members to attend. But each school district can mandate more specific guidelines.

“The boys started off a little flat, but considering this was our first game together in over a year; it was definitely expected,” said Coach Kyle Kim-E. “I think there were a lot of nerves and a lot of adrenaline going into the game. But after the first half, the boys calmed down and started to play more cohesively.

“There were a lot of positives that I saw and although we graduated some key players from last year’s Division 3 CIF-SS semifinals team. I see a lot of potential with this team and I’m excited that we have some younger varsity players, while also having great leadership from a number of our returners. It was fun to finally play some water polo again.”

Senior Cameron led Northwood with five goals, three assists and four steals.

Senior Josh Sellwood finished the game with four goals, two steals and four assists. Junior Danny Kim added two goals and two steals.

Northwood’s three varsity newcomers also had a big day. Freshman Michael Abshier, sophomore goalkeeper Aditya Hari and sophomore Iacopo Cagnoni contributed to the win.

Abshier had two goals and three teals, while Cagnoni recorded his first goal and led the team with five steals. Hari, his first time being a goalkeeper at the varsity level finished with seven saves and one assist.

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