Long Beach Poly Water Polo

Playoff Preview: Long Beach Poly Water Polo

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The Long Beach Poly boys’ water polo has won 11 CIF Southern Section championships, and was for two decades a national power, winning four championships before the school’s vaunted football program had won its first. The last title for the Jackrabbits? It was 1929.

The Poly boys have a great chance this year to win their first title in 92 years, as they received the No. 1 seed in the CIF-SS Division 4 brackets released Sunday morning. The Jackrabbits will open at home with a first-round game on Tuesday against Ayala, and would then visit Don Lugo on Thursday for a second round game, with a possible quarterfinal Saturday.

“This speaks to how hard all the kids over the last few years have been working,” said Poly coach Ish Pluton, a Jackrabbit alum. “It’s a goal of our kids for three years in a row to make a CIF Finals–all that hard work and planning has given us a shot. It’s exciting especially after a season last year where there weren’t any playoffs, where we were just working hard to find time and places to work out–in the pool, in the bay, anywhere.”

The Jackrabbits are led on offense by Reece Hammond and Chaz Pruett, with Hammond serving as a do-anything player that can score or pass at a high level. Defensively, Pluton is hoping that goalie Charlie Lemmis can have a great couple of weeks in the cage.

“He showcased some incredible goalkeeping in our game against Millikan, which the team really rallies behind,” said Pluton. “When you’re confident that if you make a small mistake on defense your goalie’s got it, you can play a little bit more freely.”

Tyler Oatey and freshman Emerson Laporta have been defensive studs that should shrink the angles for Lemmis.

The Jackrabbits will host Tuesday’s game against Ayala at 5 p.m., with the location to be determined–likely either at Cabrillo’s pool or Poly.


Mike Guardabascio
An LBC native, Mike Guardabascio has been covering Long Beach sports professionally for 13 years, with his work published in dozens of Southern California magazines and newspapers. He's won numerous awards for his writing as well as the CIF Southern Section’s Champion For Character Award, and is the author of three books about Long Beach history.