Carmel High’s boys’ water polo team is on its way to the quarterfinal CCS game against St. Ignatius after beating Sobrato 13-5 on Tuesday.
Huge performances by senior Wyatt Laughlin with four goals and junior Brett Luch with another four goals helped them get their powerful offense kick started. Along with their powerful offensive play, senior Ethan Crane stepped up to the plate and had 12 saves.
The Padres will now advance to the quarterfinals where they will take on St. Ignatius. Earlier in the year, the Padres were defeated by St. Ignatius 15-9 on Oct. 25 in a tournament at home.
The team has dedicated themselves to working hard this year to be able to compete once again in the CCS playoffs to advance further than the previous year.
“We try to have fun all year, but when we come to practice, it’s two hours of hard work and effort, which helps us in big games,” head coach Aaron Gaily says.
The team faced challenges this year, mostly because of a lot of new players and transitioning to a new style of play from last year.
“We added a lot of new pieces to the puzzle,” Gaily says. “It was more of a teambuilding process because of a lot of new people.”
With all the success throughout the season, a bump in the road occurred when the Padres were defeated 11-10 in triple overtime against Salinas High on Saturday. With senior Alon Yoeli, Luch and Laughlin combining for a total of seven goals, ultimately an unfortunate incident in sudden death killed Carmel’s chances of repeating as league champions.
“It has been an up and down year,” Gaily says. “We’ve won some really good games and have bounced back after a disappointing loss to beat Santa Cruz for third place.”
A big game earlier in the year against Soquel on Sept. 19 was a hard-fought game that almost gave the Padres a comeback after being down 5-1 in the first quarter. Yoeli scored five goals along with three scored by senior Ethan Atkins. Even with outstanding play by both seniors, the Padres were defeated 13-14, but they took this experience and were determined to find a way to win in round two.
“We worked really hard in practice and came in confident that we could beat them the next time around,” Luch says.
In round two against Soquel, the Padres dominated right from the start. With Luch having five goals along with Laughlin scoring three the Padres commanded a 13-10 win over Soquel redeeming themselves from the year’s earlier defeat against them.
This has been the story of the Padres year. Even after disappointing losses, they have been able to bounce back and show teams what they’re really made of.
The Padres will face St. Ignatius on Saturday in S.I.’s pool for a chance to move on to the semi-final round.