May 30, 2017

Water polo thrives despite lack of student attention

Patrick Ryan- While most sections in Spokesman can prompt conflict between readers over the types of material covered, there is one section that often causes disputes between readers more than any other: the sports section.

Some readers want more girls basketball coverage while others say that the football team gets too much attention. Aside from the critiques of readers, one WHS sport that does not receive enough coverage and is thus unknown to many students is water polo.

For those who are unfamiliar, a standard water polo game is played by two teams with seven players each (six field players and one goalie), and the game lasts 4 periods. There are two different types of fouls that referees may call: minor fouls or major fouls. Also, any passing, shooting or catching of the ball in a water polo game must be done with one hand, on the penalty of a minor foul.

“Water polo is a crazy fun and intense game to watch,” Theresa Godlewski, senior, said. “The physicality of it adds an element that no other sport has.”

Godlewski added, “[Water polo] is the most physical sport out there and people who don’t like being touched/grabbed/pinched/kicked/bitten should not play water polo.”

Despite the fact that both the boys and girls teams have winning records, there is often very little attendance at WHS water polo games other than parents and fellow WHS water polo players (the boys watch the girls’ games and vice versa), according to Nate Reiff, junior.

“Away games are the worst because it’s only parents. Home games are better because the girls come out and support us,” Reiff said. “It’d be nice if we could have a crowd considering we have one of the best in-conference records of any Wheeling team.”

At the time of publication, the boys water polo team had a 7-9 record overall, but was 5-0 in conference play.

“The team has been playing well. With the return of Jake and Kyle [Noel] we haven’t lost any games and we are still undefeated in our division,” Reiff said. “Our main goal is still to win the MSL championship.”

The girls water polo team is also undefeated in conference and is playing well according to Adrienne Rozmus, junior.

“This season has gone very well for us so far,” Rozmus said. “We have great chemistry as a team. We love each other in and out of the water, and this chemistry allows us to work well together with different plays and offenses.”

Both the boys and girls water polo teams want more people to take interest in their sport and attend more games.

“People might not know about the game schedule, but a big part of it is that many people might not know of the sport of water polo and think it needs to change,” Reiff said.

Girls water polo competes in the Palatine Invite April 18 at Palatine. Boys water polo faces Buffalo Grove at 7 p.m. April 20 at home.

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