The stands were full and the atmosphere was alive for the most anticipated boys’ water polo match of the season between Drake and Redwood, which did everything but live up to the hype.
With first place hanging in the balance, Drake took the lead from the start and never looked back on their way to a 14-7 victory on Tuesday.
“We can play way better than that but we went in with a mentality which was that they were the better team,” said Redwood senior captain Tim Peterson. “They came today and played like the better team.”
Drake dominated the first half on both sides of the ball and went into the half up 10-2.
“We just have to learn how to pass with pressure on us. They were beating us with their defense,” said junior Will Kepler.
Redwood had very few opportunities to score. Its first goal came with two minutes to go in the first half, and its second came on a penalty shot by senior Wyatt Barker just before the halftime buzzer.
“[By halftime] their starters were in the showers, so we knew that they had kind of finished their game but we went back out and we had to try to fix our mentality,” Peterson said.
Despite a demoralizing first half, the Giants responded in the second half with a more spirited effort. They outscored Drake by a goal in the second half, but it was not enough to come back from the early deficit.
“We have to be more offensive but we also have to come into the game just thinking that we can win it,” Peterson said.
Facing all league goaltender Daniel Roland, the Giants had their lowest scoring game of the season in league play.
“We got countered a lot,” said junior Raul Beltran. “We need to work on our swimming a little more and work on our six on five as well.”
The team is still optimistic and confident that it can upset the Pirates if it were to play them again in the MCAL playoffs.
“If we go into the game with an open mind and try to play our best water polo like we did against Tam in the semifinals last year we can make it a big difference,” Peterson said.
The morale of the team seemed to be strong after the game as teammates were back to joking amongst themselves.
“We just hope that against Tam next week that we can play a way better game than that,” Peterson said, “We’ve got to have more guys like [senior] Ryan Schoenlein finishing goals against those starters but other than that we just got to go in with a better mentality.”
Drake remains undefeated atop the MCAL standings and Redwood is in second place, just one game behind Drake.
Redwood plays next at Tam on Tuesday, Oct. 25 at 8 p.m.