Despite roster adjustment, undefeated water polo team thumps Westwood to complete Waco sweep

Team captain Keegan Langley steps in to tend goal as balanced scoring effort overwhelms Warriors, 20-10

After+the+Cedar+Ridge+win+in+the+first+game+Saturday%2C+Coach+Chris+Rubbo+brought+his+team+together+to+reflect+on+its+performance+and+gear+up+for+the+big+game+against+Westwood.+%E2%80%9CIn+order+to+win+against+Westwood%2C+we+all+had+to+build+confidence+in+each+other+and+be+able+to+bring+more+guys+into+a+roll%2C%E2%80%9D+Rubbo+said.

William Perkins

After the Cedar Ridge win in the first game Saturday, Coach Chris Rubbo brought his team together to reflect on its performance and gear up for the big game against Westwood. “In order to win against Westwood, we all had to build confidence in each other and be able to bring more guys into a roll,” Rubbo said.

William Perkins, Knight staff reporter

The water polo team traveled north to Waco on Saturday to play two games, the first against Cedar Ridge and the second, a highly anticipated matchup against Westwood High School.

Cedar Ridge was no match for the Knights, who controlled the game throughout, winning 10-5.

“Cedar Ridge was a fun game,” sophomore Finnegan Griffith said. “Coach told us that we couldn’t foul once so we were always on guard and playing safe.”

Seniors Marios Petropoulos and Keegan Langley each scored a goal, junior Spencer McNelis scored two, and freshman Ossie Joplin and junior Atticus Adair each scored three.

After the game, Coach Chris Rubbo brought the team outside to reflect on its performance and to prepare for the game against Westwood.

“In order to win against Westwood, we all had to build confidence in each other and be able to bring more guys into a roll,” Rubbo said.

Both McCallum and Westwood practice together, and occasionally scrimmage, so the Knights were not new to most of the team. Because of this familiarity, many Knights worried that the Westwood game would be the most difficult so far this season. Another reason for that assessment: Westwood’s star player Emilio Cohen.

“[Keegan] embodied the spirit of a captain. He did what he needed to do for his team.”

— junior Atticus Adair on senior captain Keegan Langley's effort as a substitute goalkeer

A third issue was that McCallum entered the second game without the service of its starting goalie. Captain Keegan Langley, stepped up to play goalie, showing everyone what it means to be a captain.

“He embodied the spirit of a captain,” Adair said. “He did what he needed to do for his team.”

As the raw emotions of agitation and pessimism began to rise, Spencer Mcnelis kept everyone’s hopes up encouraging them all to play their best, knowing that they could still win despite not having their goalie.

“I was both excited and really nervous for the game because of how badly they beat us last year, so I was thrilled to play them again,” Mcnelis said.

Mcnelis said despite missing a key player, he believed the team could win if it stayed focused and positive.

“When we were stretching, instead of having just one person lead it, everyone began talking, showing me everyone on the team still had hope as well,” Mcnelis said. “I knew we had it at that point, so I was even more excited, wanting to show Westwood what our team was capable of.”

Everyone showed their dedication to the team. … It was all-around super fun and a bonding experience since we literally doubled their score. ”

— senior captain Keegan Langley

The first half saw back-and-forth scoring between the two teams, with neither team establishing a clear advantage. The second half, however, changed the course of the game.

The Knight offense was relentless and balanced. Adair elevated his game, scoring back-to-back goals on multiple occasions. He ended the game with five goals, an all-time best for the junior. Joplin led the team in scoring with eight goals, Mcnelis scored four, junior Willam Wheeler scored twice and Petropoulos, once.

The defense also rose to the occasion, with Langley blocking three of Cohen’s shot attempts. By the time the game was over, the Knights had outscored Westwood, 20-10, to stay ranked No. 1 in the district.

“Everybody played amazingly,” Langley said. “It was all-around super fun and a bonding experience since we literally doubled their score. Everyone showed their dedication to the team, so I’m glad that it is showing in the pool, making No. 1 feel even better.”