Shallow depth sinks Corsairs

With a shortened bench, the Santa Monica College men’s water polo team sank in their first home game of the season this past Wednesday against LA Valley College by 24-8. The game was the first of only two Western State Conference games that the Corsairs will play at home all season.

Without a bench, the Corsairs looked completely winded from four periods of play, and the scene in the pool spoke even louder than the final score. The LAVC team looked fresh and ready for another game, while the Corsairs appeared completely worn out.

First-year SMC head coach Brian Eskridge was well aware of his team’s lack of reserves.

“We’re not very deep, so we can’t get into a swim meet back and forth,” Eskridge said. “So we’re trying to control the ball on offensive, get that set up, get a good shot off, then get back on defense.”

The Corsairs’ depleted bench was their downfall throughout the game. SMC allowed multiple breakaway goals, leaving freshman goalie Kevin Basurto alone to defend the net.

During the first period, LAVC controlled the ball well offensively, scoring four goals. LAVC goalie Rane Colvin stopped every shot attempted by SMC, including two from Myers. Colvin currently leads all California community college goalies with 263 saves.

As all four goals came from wide-open shots, Eskridge emphasized the need for defense during halftime.

In the second period, LAVC picked up where they left off in the first, scoring two quick unanswered goals. The Corsairs finally responded with a goal by Kyle Charmit at the 6:33 mark, but LAVC soon fired back with two more goals.

With his team down 8-1, Eskridge called another timeout, hoping to refocus his team. During the timeout, the home team seemed frustrated, and argued among themselves.

SMC captain Alex Myers felt that his teammates lacked alertness on defense.

“No one’s looking around,” Myers said. “No one is helping other players, no one is picking up people on defense. The main thing is definitely just awareness.”

Myers finished the game with two goals and one assist, keeping with the season’s tally of 35 goals and 13 assists so far.

His assist set up teammate Austin Shahari, who led the team with three goals in the game. Shahari is second in goals scored with 29 so far this season.

Heading into the final period down 19-5, the Corsairs concentrated on offensive ball movement and defensive adjustments, hoping to gain momentum for their next game against Citrus College on Wednesday Oct. 26 at 3 p.m. in the SMC pool.

Eskridge feels his team can win against Citrus, despite having fallen to them in their previous meeting by the score of 16-10.

“Now with our full team, I think it will be a real close, competitive game,” said Eskridge.

With the loss, the Corsairs drop to 0-3 in conference play, and to 1-12 overall.