Cabrillo Jordan Lakewood Long Beach Poly Millikan Water Polo Wilson

Moore League Boys’ Water Polo Enjoys Showcase At Cabrillo

The562’s coverage of boys’ water polo is sponsored by Aquatic Capital of America Foundation.

Although the annual Moore League boys’ water polo showcase on Wednesday at Cabrillo High featured blowout wins for Wilson, Long Beach Poly and Lakewood, it was still enjoyed by the teams in attendance.

“We have a premier pool and it’s in Long Beach so we love all of the teams, it’s like a family when they come here,” Cabrillo coach Lawrence Durand said. “We have great camaraderie and it’s really fun.”

The showcase is scheduled to bring Wilson, Poly, Lakewood, Millikan, Jordan and Cabrillo together for an afternoon of three consecutive games to kick off the league schedule.

“You could see some of my boys were excited to show up early and see (Wilson) play, and some of the Wilson guys stayed to take a peak (at us),” Poly coach Ish Pluton said. “All of the coaches get along really well, all of the boys get along really well and it’s nice to see everyone in one place.

VIDEO: Moore League Boys’ Water Polo Showcase

Wilson opened the proceedings with a 23-1 victory over Millikan while first-year Bruins coach and alum Zach Polmanteer enjoyed his first coaching expense at the Cabrillo pool.

“It’s something special and it’s a good time,” Polmanteer said of the showcase. “At this pool and this facility, we’re super gracious for Cabrillo to host. We appreciate that. This pool is gorgeous.”

The highlight of the match came at the end of the first quarter when Wilson goalkeeper Brady Simon. scored a goal from the length of the pool as the buzzer sounded. He said it’s something he practices all the time, but that it’s by far the furthest one he’s scored in a game.

“It’s just a, ‘Let’s see what happens’ and somehow it went in,” Simon said. “It felt great (off the hand). The spin was elegant and it was a beautiful shot.”

“He’s dynamic,” Polmanteer said of Simon. “We live and die by Brady. He’s the wall of our defense and he’s extremely important. He’s got a loud voice, a lot of passion and he’s starting to use all of that energy for good. He’s being supportive and positive and it makes a direct impact as to how we play as a team.”

Sean Tunnicliff scored a game-high five goals for the Bruins, who now prepare for an important tournament this weekend against some of the best teams in California.

“So far we’ve expected to play the highest level of water polo against the best teams and I think we’ve done that,” Simon added. “We’re ready to show what we can do. We’re playing a new and improved style and I think it’s going to show really soon.”

PHOTOS: Wilson vs. Millikan, Boys’ Water Polo

In the second game between Lakewood and Jordan, the Lancers won 21-3 thanks to balanced scoring and great play from goalkeeper Ellis and Nunez who each had a handful of solid saves.

“Our big focus is just the fundamentals and making sure we’re doing the right stuff and making all of the right movements,” Lakewood first-year coach Dylan Thompson said. “That’s something we’re still working towards, but I definitely saw improvement today.”

Senior Aaron Talag scored a game-high hat trick for Lakewood that included a nifty backhand score in the first quarter as the Lancers took an early lead. Talag said that having a new coach is something he and his classmates have dealt with every year at Lakewood so they’re used to adjusting on the fly.

“It’s really about sticking together as a team,” Talag said. “No one has our backs except for us in the water. We have to rely on our teammates. As a senior, we have to lead the team and get the younger guys motivated to work on ourselves.”

PHOTOS: Lakewood vs. Jordan, Boys’ Water Polo

In the nightcap, Long Beach Poly rolled to a 23-0 win over Cabrillo. The Jackrabbits had 12 different players score goals while Markus Cruz, Luke Cassiano, Nico Song and Colin Soohoo all scored three goals each.

Poly now has its best overall record at 13-5 since seventh-year coach Poly coach Ish Pluton took over the program.

“This team is really coming together and they’re a really tight knit group that is super fun to coach,” Pluton said. “I think the league is going to be really fun this year.”

“It’s important for us to get these reps in,” Song said. “When we play a high level team like Wilson we have to practice the skills we need in those games here (in games like this).”

Pluton added that it’s players like Song who make every game count for the entire team.

“Not only is Nico the glue guy for our team, he’s also just the energizer bunny, which is fitting for the rabbits,” Pluton said. “He gives 120 percent when he’s in and his teammates vibe off of that. He is the life of our team.”

Currently, Long Beach Poly is ranked No. 9 in Division 2 and Cabrillo is ranked No. 3 in Division 5.

League action continues next Wednesday when Millikan visits Cabrillo, Poly hosts Lakewood and Wilson travels to Jordan.

PHOTOS: Long Beach Poly vs. Lakewood, Boys’ Water Polo

JJ Fiddler
JJ Fiddler is an award-winning sportswriter and videographer who has been covering Southern California sports for multiple newspapers and websites since 2004. After attending Long Beach State and creating the first full sports page at the Union Weekly Newspaper, he has been exclusively covering Long Beach prep sports since 2007.