Varsity boys water polo defeats Cupertino during senior night


Heidi Zhang

Matthew Hajjar (12) reaches for the ball, playing defense against a Cupertino player. The first half finished 6-3 in favor of the Eagles, with Harker goals scored by Bobby and Matthew.

by Heidi Zhang, TALON Editor-in-Chief

The varsity boys water polo team triumphed 15-6 over the Cupertino high school Pioneers with at their senior night at Singh Aquatic Center last Thursday, bringing their overall record to 11-8.

The senior night ceremony, which began at 4 p.m., honored seven seniors: Bobby Bloomquist, Joshua Broweleit, Andrew Chang, Matthew Hajjar, Jacob Kim, Leon Lu, and Neil Tipirneni.

Cupertino took first possession at the start of the match, but the Eagles fought back with two consecutive goals courtesy of Matthew. The first half finished 6-3 in favor of the Eagles, with Harker goals scored by Bobby and Matthew.

The second half resulted in a team performance apt for senior night, with Matthew, Jacob, Bobby, Andrew and Leon contributing nine more Eagle points while the Pioneers managed only three. The match finished with a dominating 15-6 Harker victory.

“Last game against them, we lost just barely in a golden goal, which is double overtime,” Jacob said. “We’re really happy to have come back and given it our best shot. It’s really sentimental being here on senior night, I’ve only got maybe four or five games left, and I won’t be with this team, these coaches, and at this pool again.”

Head coach Ted Ujifusa and assistant coach Dr. Victor Adler credit a more focused defensive strategy with the improved Harker performance.

“We played more of the Harker style water polo that we’re looking for which is predicated on defense first,” Ujifusa said. “Then we look for getting good opportunities on the offense, and we happen to have the shooters who can take care of the ball. We had a good week of practice, you can’t play different than the way you practice. This week, it was more focused than the past, and we have a chance to actually win the league so there’s that out there for us to keep trying hard.”

During practices this week leading up to the game, Adler focused on running a zone defense in order to counter their opponents.

“We’re playing well right now, this game defense was a bit different because our guys were more aware,” Adler said. “It’s cliché, but defense wins games. At the beginning of the game, I like to see that our offense is clicking and running the things it should be running, and it was today. We are in a position where we need to win every game, so we need to keep the gas on. Even if we’re up four goals, you have to continue to press the advantage every time. I tell them, never let up, never relax.”

The win over Cupertino helped the Eagles gain CCS qualification points. The boys compete in the Ronald J. Freeman Memorial Tournament on Friday and Saturday at Monta Vista and Wilcox, respectively.