Season Preview Mercer Island Reporter

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BOYS WATER POLO

Coach: Andrew Smith-Jones

Assistants: Blake vanHartesvelt, Chad Salley.

Last season: Third at state tournament.

Strengths: “We have a deep bench,” senior Ford Witman said. “Everyone can swim super fast and we all have good ball-handling skills. I think that bench is what a lot of other teams lack.”

“I think overall, we’re a faster team than last year,” Smith-Jones said. “There’s more of that internal drive. They want to win.”

Needs to improve: “We got to pick up our defense,” Smith-Jones said. “We allowed way too many goals last year. We have a really good goalie in Hunter [Peshkin], but we can’t just leave it up to him to block the ball constantly.”

“We lost four starters from last year, so we’re really looking to some of our younger guys and even ourselves to step up and fill those roles,” senior Conner Vacca said.

Goals: “Win state,” Witman said. “I think everyone wants it, more than they did last year.”

“We’re always striving to be a state competitor,” Vacca said.  “We’ve shown that we can be hungry to win, it’s just a matter of if we can carry that throughout the season. And if we can, that will lead to our success and I think we can win state with that.”

Captains: Conner Vacca, Ford Witman.

Other key athletes: Erik Raisys, Hunter Peshkin, Jacob Guedel.

Games to watch: Roosevelt, Sept. 14; Bellevue, Sept. 22.

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