The Jackrabbits are eager to prove that last year’s Moore League championship and CIF-SS championship runner-up weren’t flukes, and that they’re a program that’s here to stay. Poly (4-6) is led by first-year head coach Brandon D’Sa, a 25 year old who’s a part of a Wilson aquatics legacy (his brother, Zach, just won an NCAA title with USC).
D’Sa said that while he’s swapped his maroon jacket for green, nobody’s giving him too hard of a time about it.
“I think everybody’s happy to see me in the game, I’d been out of it for a few years and this was the first opportunity that cropped up,” he said.
D’Sa, who has his teaching credential and is hoping to be on-campus at Poly soon, is part of a young coaching group in the school’s water polo program, where the boys’ team is led by Ish Pluton, who’s also 25.
“The idea of coming in as young coaches and being there for a long time was a major factor,” said D’Sa.
The program features a lot of new faces in the pool as well as on deck. Poly graduated several of its key offensive players, but does return some key starters. Senior driver Kate Sarantos is back, and leading Poly offensively along with center guard Josie Hahn. Goalie Alinna Perez was a stud last year and D’Sa said he thinks she’ll keep his team in just about every game. Poly also returns Tara Johnson as a starter from last year’s team.
D’Sa said his team isn’t ducking the legacy of last year, and is trying to draw inspiration from it instead.
“We’re definitely trying to toe the line from last year,” he said. “What we did was great, but we’ve got to try to continue that excellence. It’s something the girls are holding themselves to–I still think the program can and will grow.”