Boys water polo comes to unfortunate end

Joseph Mousaed

Senior Maxim Grinfeld and sophomore Ryan Sokolov huddle together to listen to their captain.
Rosemary Vazquez
Senior Maxim Grinfeld and sophomore Ryan Sokolov huddle together to listen to their captain.

Varsity water polo captain and senior Maxim Grinfeld snatches the ball from opposition in what looks to be a heated match between

the Birmingham Patriots and the Pacific Palisades Dolphins.

The dark night sky at Los Angeles Valley College pool, however, foreshadowed the blowout that was yet to come.

The Birmingham Community Charter High School water polo team became runner-up to the Pacific Palisades Charter High School team in the California Interscholastic Federation City Section Championship finals with a final score of 3-19. This game ended the season of the dominating force of the Patriots

  “We could feel the tension in the pool,” Grinfeld said. “I told my team that no matter what happened tonight, I wanted to make my last two quarters memorable.”

Right from the start, both teams raced around the pool trying to get hold of the precious yellow ball. The Dolphins scored three quick goals and that caused the Patriots to play catchup the rest of the game.

The Patriots have been in the CIF City Finals for five consecutive years and has placed second to the Palisades Dolphins for four consecutive years.

Grinfeld tried to lead a team that was shuddering in anxiety the entire match because of what was at stake.

“My team was very nervous and that caused us to make mistakes that we otherwise would not have made,” he said.

Missed opportunities, bad decision making and hostile behavior were among the mistakes made. Two players even got ejected for a set time.

While the game ended in defeat for BCCHS, they should still be proud for placing first in their league and making it to the city championship game despite starting with an almost entirely new team.

This season’s BCCHS varsity water polo team was filled with new faces unlike previous years. Sophomores Shayn Gaft, Robert Dracic and Ryan Sokolov competed in their first varsity season along with freshman Ben Sanchez.

The bond that was created allowed them to trump team after team, until they reached the final championship match for all the glory.

After the game, each player was awarded a medal for outstanding performance. The Patriots received a runner-up plaque while the Dolphins won a trophy.

The Birmingham water polo boys stood side by side for the last group photograph of the season. The tears could be seen, the sense of tension from earlier turned to an unbreakable bond that could be felt while the team propped up their captain, Grinfeld, and smiled.

“There is no other team I would rather be with,” Sokolov said.