Water Polo making a big splash
Before the season even began, there was a certain vibe about the 2014 Wilbraham & Monson Academy Water Polo team.
And now that the schedule has begun, that vibe is carrying into the season, with the Titans over .500 and playing a high level of competitive water polo.
“The season is going well,” captain Austin Fabbo ’15 said. “We’re playing together as a team and we’ve been able to come together for games. We had a couple close losses but we’re playing well.”
The Titans opened the season with a win over Loomis Chaffee before falling to the Williston Northampton School and Hopkins School. The team rebounded with victories over Suffield Academy and Eaglebrook School.
WMA has an experienced starting lineup, led by Austin, twins Liam and Jack Kirwan ’15, and R.J. Taylor ’15. New international students Giacoma Arena ’15 (Italy) and Tim Beloborodov ’16 (Russia) have allowed Coach Steve Gray ’70 to put a solid starting unit in the pool. Peter Caine ’16 and Netiwat Phukhachee ’15 have also played quality minutes, and first-year players Wenyen Gabriel ’16 and Brenden Vessichio ’16 have stepped up and performed very well in goal.
“We have a lot of experience on the team,” Austin said. “All of the starters are not first-year players – that’s the first time in a while that’s happened. Plus, we have a really good offense.”
Since the season began, Coach Gray and the Titans have taken practice seriously, working as a unit and correcting their weaknesses.
“We practice like we play,” Liam said. “Every practice we usually scrimmage, and we’re all friendly and tell each other what we did right and wrong, and when it comes time for a game we know what the other person is going to do.”
Some of the Titans got in extra practice before the season even began, with the Kirwans and Peter attending the Navy Water Polo Camp at Annapolis, Md.
WMA has a big home contest against Deerfield Academy Oct. 8 at 3 p.m. The team’s goal is to finish over .500 for 2014 and to play well Nov. 8 at the Hopkins Invitational, which serves as the season finale. This is the 30th anniversary of the program at the Academy.