Boys’ Water Polo Caps Off Regular Season with a 18-16 Win, Eyeing Playoff Run

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Courtesy of @re_waterpolo on Instagram

Camille Devaney ’21, Lucas Gomez ’21 and Hayes Holly ’21 are honored on senior night.

The Ransom Everglades Boys’ Water Polo team concluded their regular season with a 18-16 win on Tuesday evening against the St. Thomas Aquinas Raiders at the Ansin Aquatic Center. Before the game, seniors Lucas Gomez ’21 and Hayes Holly ’21 were honored for their contributions to the RE Water Polo program over the last four years. 

The Raiders faced a tough task against their long-time rivals, but they prevailedWe played one of our best games this season,” Gomez saidWe communicated well and it allowed us to be much more efficient on defense, creating more opportunities for us to score on offense.”  

Fittingly, the two seniors led the charge in this back-and-forth game. Gomez, playing from the right wing, had seven goals, a block, an assist, and a steal. On the left wing, Holly had six goals, two blocks, and three steals. 

RE jumped to a 4-2 lead in the first quarter with efficient shooting and strong defense. “Hayes and I got fired up by the senior night ceremony [before the game],”  Gomez added. “We used it as motivation for the game, and once the whistle blew, we just fed off each other’s energy.”. 

Despite a buzzer-beating goal from goalkeeper Coren O’Brien ’23, RE trailed 10-9 at halftime.  

O’Brien had “a breakout game,” according to Gomez. In addition to the goal at the end of the first half, Holly was impressed with how O’Brien “blocked one of the best players in the state multiple times.” 

“This was definitely one of the harder opponents we faced this year,” center Geronimo Carom ’22who also scored on Tuesday, said. “The team really had to step up in the second half and all of our hard work came through to secure the victory.” 

RE hit their stride in the second half. “On defense, we communicated well and adapted to Aquinas’s unique offensive style, which gave us the upper hand in the match,” Holly said. In the dying moments of the third quarter, with the game tied, Gomez scored a full court shot that swung the game in RE’s favor. “It was a real morale booster, and it pumped up the team for the rest of the game,” Carom explained. “It was electric, Holly added. 

RE never trailed again after Gomez’s goal and saw out the victory in the fourth quarter, improving to a 7-1 record on the 2021 season. The team is confident heading into the postseason, but they recognize the value of taking advantage of practice time.  

“As we progress in the playoffs, we must practice as hard as we play in games. When we play top-tier teams in the postseason, we need to capitalize on our 6-on-5 possessions,” Holly said.  

 “We need to practice moving the ball on offense so that we don’t cause silly turnovers,” Gomez addedWe also need to play wider to avoid crowding the middle of the pool.”  

The leadership from the seniors is vital to a long postseason run. Carom, who has played with Gomez and Holly since middle school, explained that “it’s more than a pleasure to have them as friends and figures to look up to.” 

Despite the excitement for the start of the playoffs, the team must be vigilant against COVID-19. Gomez wants the team to “focus on staying safe, active, and motivated. We know the impact that Covid can have on a sports season, and with districts around the corner, we cannot take any chances to jeopardize our season.” 

The Raiders, led by Head Coach Eric Lefebvre, will open the postseason with the district playoffs at home this Friday.