The rivalry in the water


Andrea Martinez

On Tuesday, Oct. 15, during the water polo game versus Warren, the cheer team pumps the boys up to encourage them to win. The team beat Warren with a final score of 8 to 12.

Mia Dixon-Slaughter, Co-Editor-in-Cheif

On Thursday, Oct. 17, the Downey and Warren water polo teams attended the Downey pool for the varsity game vs. Warren. The tension was present around the pool as the players pulled on their caps, removed their robes and headed for the water in hopes of defeating the rival school. Although water polo games typically include aggression, this game had more tension than usual. The Downey water polo team still ended up winning against Warren with a final score of 13-8.

The game opened up with a goal from Warren but was quickly countered with a point from captain, Ryan Cruz. The crowds cheered on as this pattern repeated until the  first quarter ended with a tied score of 2-2.

Cruz, 11, explained that the team had a hard time in the beginning because they were not as organized as they could have been, but with the help of co-captain, Nick Rodriguez, he was able to make sure the team was on task.

“We could have been more organized but with Nick and I on set and point,” Cruz said, “we made sure everyone was in place and ready for the next move.”

Cruz and Rodriguez’s coaching kept their team together and even caused Downey to take the lead second quarter. The duo made the majority of the goals during this quarter. By the end of the second quarter, Downey was up three points with a score of 5-2. Warren became agitated by their stagnant score.

With Downey in the lead, the Warren players became frustrated and began to talk down to the Downey players. Their aggression was expressed across the pool at the rival team. Co-captain Rodriguez, 12, explained that the rival team continued to yell things at them from the side of the pool for the entire game.

“Since they were losing, they were getting frustrated,” Cruz said, “and they just began to talk a lot of smack.”

As the game continued Downey water polo player, Milon Hernandez, 11, was bit by one of the Warren players. Hernandez was on defense making sure the ball could safely be passed to a teammate for a goal and the Warren player could not keep up with Hernandez. The Warren player got so irritated, he grabbed Hernandez by the shoulders and sunk his teeth into the Downey player’s front shoulder before swimming off for the next play.

Hernandez stated that the Warren polo player became irritated with him because he was doing his job well on defense, guarding one of the most important positions—set.  This shocked him because he had never been bit before during a game.

“I was guarding set and he was getting frustrated because I was playing good,” Hernandez said, “so on the turn over before he started swimming he held me by the shoulders and bit me. I have never been bit before so this was a new experience.”

Third quarter was a challenge with Warren slowly catching up to Downey. Downey player Preston Median, 11, jumped up from the water to make a goal and missed but got a second chance in the next play and scored. Frankie Gonzales, 11, was given multiple 5-meter shots because of a few foul moves made by the Warren players, such as swimming on the backs of the Downey players.  This caused the third quarter to come to a score 8-5, with Downey in the lead again.

The tension proved to be too much for the Warren water polo team. In the beginning of fourth quarter the Warren coach sent an extra player into the pool to go after Cruz in order to make sure the he would not continue his goal streak. This illegal move was caught by the referees and resulted in him being dismissed from the rest of the game.

Nick Rodriguez explained that this action made no sense and was a desperate attempt to slow down the Downey players.

“The coach sent in a seventh player to try to stop Ryan from making a goal,” Rodriguez said, “and that is illegal, you can’t have seven on six. It’s a dumb play, you just don’t do that.”

The fourth quarter continued with Downey’s goal streak, gaining points for the Downey team.

The Warren team attempted to slow down the Downey players any way they could and did everything in their power to ensure they would win. In the end none of this was successful. The Downey varsity water polo team ended the game in a chant of the school’s name in celebration of their defeat of the Warren water polo team.