Millikan Water Polo

Season Preview: Millikan Boys’ Water Polo

All of The562’s water polo coverage for the 2021-22 school year is sponsored by Aqualand. Visit AqualandOfTheFree.com to learn more.

While the Wilson Bruins appear to be loaded sitting atop the Moore League, there’s a compelling battle to see which team will lead the chase pack this fall. Based on results from the abbreviated season in March, the favorites for that spot might just be Millikan. Head coach Danely Smith has a cohesive, senior-heavy group that will look to overcome the loss of games from last season.

“I think the boys are motivated coming off of that sort of lack of a season last year,” Smith said of his team. “They’re excited, they’re motivated, and we have a decent group of seniors. They like playing together so I’m hoping for good things.”

Among the standouts for the Rams is senior Max Miller, who routinely led Millikan in scoring during the shortened season earlier this year. He had a pair of hat tricks against Long Beach Poly during their entertaining season series, scoring seven goals in two meetings–which both teams split. Poly came back for an exciting 10-9 win over the Rams in their season opener, but Millikan responded in the second matchup with a comfortable 10-5 win over the Jackrabbits.

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Miller was one of three first-team All-Moore League selections for Millikan last season, and the only returner from that group. He’ll be joined by classmates Logan White, Tony Garcia Montes, and Ed Requejo to make up a solid senior core for the Rams. Younger players like junior Josh Ramos and new goalie Andrew Dabella have shown potential but are short on in-game experience.

Dabella will look to replace Kai Goeku in the cage, who was a terrific last line of defense for the Rams last season. The Rams will also need to replace four other All-Moore League honorees from last year’s team: Maceo Glenn, Zack Jamali, Cole Perkins, and Matthew Hernandez.

Staying healthy will be a key for the Rams this season as they look to once again battle with Poly for second place and hope to take some shots at preseason favorite Wilson. According to Smith, the desire is there from his players, it’s now just a matter of showing it in the pool.

“We’ve got guys that are excited to prove themselves,” Smith said. “There’s good team chemistry, they really get along well. We worked hard over the summer to try and make up for some lost time. We played a lot of games and worked hard the whole summer, so they’re excited and ready to roll.”

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Tyler Hendrickson
Tyler Hendrickson was born and raised in Long Beach, and started covering sports in his hometown in 2010. After five years as a sportswriter, Tyler joined the athletic department at Long Beach State University in 2015. He spent more than four years in the athletic communications department, working primarily with the Dirtbags baseball program. Tyler also co-authored of The History of Long Beach Poly: Scholars & Champions.