Water polo performance splashes at finals


Karina Mara

Driver CJ Gorospe passes the ball to his teammate during the CIF City Championship game on Nov. 8 at Los Angeles Valley College.

Rudraj Koppikar, Managing Editor

Emotions flared, tensions rose and insults flew as the Birmingham Patriots varsity boys water polo team played the Palisades Dolphins for the CIF Los Angeles City Section Championship at Los Angeles Valley College on Nov. 8.

The Patriots reached the championship final for the first time since 2015 and as runner-up will be playing in state playoffs later in the month. The team previously beat Kennedy High School with a score of  24-4, South East High School with a score of 25-10 and Granada High School with a score of 6-5 to reach the finals.

“The early goals threw us off,” Driver Cj Gorospe said. “We still needed that motivation to push us further. Fear of losing was one of the big factors this year.”

The Dolphins racked up a 5-0 advantage against the Patriots by late second period but a goal by the Patriots brought hopes of a comeback. However, with the goals stacked against them the pressure built on the Patriots.

Wing player Benjamin Sanchez scored two goals against the Dolphins, the most out of any players on the team. Despite a valiant effort, shortcomings in communication and passing cost the Patriots lost the game with a final score of 13-5 in favor of the Dolphins.

However, reaching finals was an achievement in itself as the Patriots haven’t reached city finals since 2015.

“Being able to get to finals was really rewarding,” Gorospe said. “It showed how much work we put in and how it all paid off.”

With only two of four students from Daniel Pearl Magnet High School returning to the team next year after two seniors graduate, Gorospe has begun stepping up to fill in the gaps that the departures will cause.

“Next year I want to be able to have the guts to shoot the ball whenever I need to,” Gorospe said. “I’ve been lacking in offense but next year since most of the seniors are leaving I’ll need to up my game.”