Fresh Beginnings for the Speedo Bandits


Evan Bruno, Sports Editor

Coming off a CIF appearance, the Titan boys water polo team looks to build on the success of last year. Although losing star player Sebastian Moggio, as well as key assets Jonathan Hernandez and Jacob Broussard, the Titans starting seven look to be as strong, if not stronger, than last year’s team. Led by seniors Marcus Koh and Christian Madrigal-Reza, who take the role as captains. The starting lineup is rounded out by Nathan Chan, 10, Howard Huang, 11, Daniel Chen, 11, and Jack Li, 10, with sophomore Thomas Zhou at goalie. Entering his eighth season as varsity coach, Robert Zirovich looks to get his first CIF title as a coach with a very capable team. “This season, we’re going for it all,” junior Caden Chan said. For varsity, it’s a league title or bust, and there’s only one roadblock seemingly in their way, Temple City.

Meanwhile, the JV team looks to defend their Junior Varsity league title, although they only retained three of their starters from last year. After losing Caden Chan, Diego Garcia, and Aidan Chan to varsity as well as goalie Andrey Tolamachev, who graduated, coach Jessy Hernandez will attempt to go back to back in a season where the odds are stacked against the JV team. Led by sophomore captains Nate Mathis and Evan Bruno, the JV team is rounded out with James Bradshaw, 11, Jonathan Jen, 10, Jonathan Zheng, 9, Chris Law, 9, and Tristan Wong, 10. 

In their opening game against Hoover, varsity absolutely dominated the Tornados, as the Titans handled Hoover 17-5. On both sides of the ball, it was not even a contest. It was an unfair battle, but the JV game told a different story. The night before the game, coaches were informed that goalie Sebastian Liong, 11, would not be able to play his normal position, so scrambling to find a goalie, the coaches had decided to put Bruno in at goal. After falling down 6-0, the Titans rallied back, forcing overtime with an incredible defensive save on the part of Bradshaw and Bruno. However, in the sudden death overtime, the JV team would fall, 11-10. 

On Thursday, game two against the Flintridge Prep Wolves occurred, with star for the Wolves Noah Correll playing a huge role in the game. After Nathan Chan scored the Titans first two goals, and Daniel Chen adding a third, the Wolves leaped out to a five goal lead, extending a 3-3 tie into an 8-3 lead at halftime. Although the second half brought better fortune for the Titans, they ultimately lost 10-8. “We lost this game in the third quarter,” Jack Li said. “We could have won if it was not for lazy play late in the game.” For JV, a tight battle occurred in the first half, this time bringing down varsity player Matthew Jitngamplang, 11, to play goalie, but in the second half, San Marino pulled ahead of Flintridge, winning 12-8.

After the first two games of the water polo season, both varsity and JV’s records stand at 1-1. All that needs to be worked out is a few small kinks for both of these teams to be very successful, and head coach Robert Zirovich believes these issues can easily be worked out. For varsity this season, the boys look to add a couple of new trophies to the trophy case. The Titans ability to make a splash this year was on full force in this first week of the season, and things are looking to get better.