Men's water polo is victimized by Ventura dominance
Disappointment was the theme as one looked at the faces of the men's water polo team after the game ended last Wednesday. The Santa Monica College Corsairs were sent back to the drawing board while the Ventura Pirates piled on the bus to head home after a convincing 3-16 victory.
Right after their lopsided loss, a frustrated but optimistic head coach Erik Matheson watched his team shake hands with a more experienced squad. The coach, hands on his hips, had the look on his face of a proud father that must tell his children that winning is not everything.
After the first period, the score was knotted up at 2-2.
"It started out very well. It was pretty much an even game in the beginning," said Matheson.
The Corsairs kept up with the pace of Ventura for the first and most of the second period in the match.
"The biggest goal going into this game was to set the tone from the very beginning," Matheson continued.
The Corsairs unfortunately fell short and gave the Pirates a 4-2 lead going into the half time break, a deficit that would only inflate in the ensuing periods.
With the third period came a force from Ventura that took the Corsairs by surprise, and they pounded one goal after another past the spotty defense.
And for a Corsair squad that looked exhausted even with multiple substitutes, the game result became more and more eminent.
The Corsairs' underclassmen were called for one penalty after another, a direct result and a testament to the speed and superior swimming done by the opposition.
Precise passing coupled with powerful shots helped Ventura maintain control of the game, while SMC remained almost scoreless for the remainder of the match that they would eventually lose by 13 points.
"We got tired and started making mistakes," Matheson said in his office after the game.
"The starting seven guys played well, but they can only go on for so long and the team does not have a lot of substitutes."
The Corsairs put forth all effort they possessed, playing hard and scrappy until the final buzzer sounded. Ventura just seemed to out-muscle the home team in the pool, displaying more organization and more focus.
Although a loss, the final score does not always tell the whole story. The match was a bit of a wake-up call to the endurance of the Corsairs, who can only use game as an opportunity to improve on.