Long Beach Poly Water Polo

CIF Boys’ Water Polo: Long Beach Poly Falls To Arcadia In First Round

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The562’s coverage of Long Beach Poly is sponsored by Bryson Financial.

The Long Beach Poly boys’ water polo season came to an end on Wednesday in the first round of the CIF Southern Section Division 2 playoffs at Cabrillo High.

Arcadia took an early lead and held off a Poly comeback in a 14-10 victory.

“A couple of unlucky bounces early on was unfortunate, and then we played a little emotional in the second and third (quarters) and got into foul trouble,” Poly coach Ish Pluton said. “That sucked a lot of energy out of our offense… We were finding the back of the net, it was just too little too late.”

Senior Markus Cruz scored a hat trick for Poly, but fouled out in the second half after picking up his third exclusion.

“Even though (Markus) fouled out he was getting his team fired up,” Pluton said of his senior leader. “He wanted his team to play their hearts out. He left his biggest mark by supporting his team.”

Cruz wanted to make sure and thank for documenting his entire high school career, and his coaches for their sticktoitivness.

“We had a lot of ups and downs with this younger team with only four seniors, but (our coaches) stayed with us and really gave us their all,” Cruz said.

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Arcadia leaned heavily on Jaden Joemtree, who scored a game-high seven goals. He put his team up 4-2 with a nice counter attack goal in the second quarter, but Cruz scored with about five seconds left to make it 4-3 Arcadia at halftime.

The game opened up in the third quarter with a combined 10 goals, but this time it was a late goal from Joemtree that padded the lead 10-7 headed to the fourth quarter.

A fantastic goal from Nathan Lao, and another 5-meter penalty from Joemtree, early in the fourth gave Arcadia the breathing room it needed to see out the victory.

After the game, Pluton talked to his team about appreciating the seniors.

“We wanted to thank this group for leaving their mark and showing us what it takes to be Poly Jackrabbits,” Pluton said. “We also talked to the younger guys about being fired up for next year to do better.”

Poly senior Luke Cassiano, who had swam all his life before joining the water polo team as a freshman, said it’s one of the best decisions he made.

“It was definitely a change (going from swim to water polo) but I don’t regret it, it was a great ride,” he said. “These guys are my brothers in arms, they’re my family… It sucks that it’s over.”

VIDEO: Long Beach Poly vs. Arcadia, CIF Boys’ Water Polo
PHOTOS: Long Beach Poly vs. Arcadia, CIF 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.