The Valley College men’s water polo team gears up to defend their western state conference title.
By Vicente Vitela, Sports Editor
With the 2018 men’s water polo season under way, the Valley College Monarchs begin their push for six straight western state conference championships and are off to a hot 5-0 start.
The Monarchs are coming off an incredible 2017 season which saw them finish with a 22-8 record, just two wins shy of winning the state championship. This season will have a little over half the team returning from last year, most notably one of their leading scorers, Louis Brunner, who scored 62 goals for the team last season.
“We need to reach our goals as a team, play hard, and compete,” said Head Coach, Jim McMillan when asked about his expectations for the season.
Last year’s team ranked 5th in shot percentage and 5th in assists overall. This Monarchs team is currently ranked number three in California and already had a huge razor-thin win over Golden West College 10-9, a team that hasn’t lost in over two years.
“We’ve never beaten them and the boys played well, but they weren’t at their best,” said McMillan about the Golden West game.
The victory over Golden West took place at a tournament hosted by them, essentially making it an away game. This type of victory speaks volumes to the team that Coach McMillan has. A chunk of that can be attributed to the way they play together and how they play for one another while making each other better in the process.
“The defense is not where I’d like it to be, in particular, our one-on-one defense,” said McMillan on what the team needs to work on.
A huge rematch is set to take place this week as we get to see the Monarchs vs Golden West, round two. This time around it will be a little different, as it will take place here at Valley and we can expect both teams to come out with full energy. For the Monarchs, we can expect them to come out hot and heavy while having a chip on their shoulder, as they’re out to prove that their last victory over them wasn’t a fluke. With Golden West looking to avenge a near two-and-a-half-year winning streak, they would love nothing more than to do it on the Monarchs home turf while sending a message to the rest of the league.
For the 2018 season, we can expect nothing less than a competitive season from the Monarchs and with Coach McMillan leading this group, it’s fair to say that it will be an exciting season with hopes of winning the last game of the season.