By Vicente Vitela, Sports Editor
The number two ranked Monarch’s hope to wrap up the Western State Conference and prepare for a run at the playoffs.
Valley College Men’s water polo is currently ranked number two in the state with a 19-4 record while averaging 12.75 points per game and with the playoffs around the corner, this is how the Monarch’s stack up.
“We are focusing on taking care of the little things, both mental, and physical,” said Head Coach Jim McMillan
The Monarch’s record may show four losses, however, three of those have come at the hands of Golden West, who are ranked number one in the state with an 18-1-1 record. The most recent meeting between the two top contenders took place during a recent tournament, in which Golden West got the better of the Monarchs in a 10-8 overtime victory.
“It would be fun, but we gotta win conference and semi’s first, and that’s not an easy road,” said McMillan when asked about a Golden West rematch.
The good news is that the Monarchs have a stranglehold on the Western State Conference and are ranked first heading into the conference championships. The defense speaks for itself thanks in large part to their emphasis on team play and their consistent defense as they rank third in the conference in save percentage at 71.4% and rank fourth in the conference with just four goals scored against.
Valley College is not just about defense, as their offense is something not to be overlooked as they rank thirteenth in goals overall at 53 and 14th in assists at 14. The team has scored 204 goals this season, ranking twentieth overall, and twenty-seventh overall in assists with 15.
“The stars would have to align and it would have to come down to the little things,” said McMillan when asked about what it would take to win the last game of the season.
With a deep playoff run expected from the Monarchs fans, the team looks to handle their unfinished business from last season, when they fell two wins short of the So Cal regional championship. This time around they, are looking to finish what they started, and by the numbers, this team is similar to last years, but there are two striking differences between the two teams.
One difference is the experience factor, as all the freshmen that were apart of last year’s run are now sophomores, and now know what they need in order to get the job done. The second factor is that this team, more than last year, have seemed to buy into the emphasis on team play, and aren’t afraid to give up a good shot for a great shot.
Last year the Monarchs finished in third place and that has seemed to ignite these players and coaching staff as this year they are trying to win the last game of the season. If you’re a Monarchs fan and a fan of high-level water polo a possible playoff, or championship match against Golden West would be similar to that of an Alveraz vs Golovkin boxing match.
The So Cal Championships begin on Nov. 8, and the way this team is playing the Monarchs are favorites to make the playoffs and from that point on we will see if the team has made the necessary adjustments to win the last game of the season.