Water Polo continues domination, eyeing final game

Ryan LaRocca airs it out in a 15-6 win over Penn Charter, September 24, 2019 – Mr. Jim Roese

Not a single player on Fords water polo has ever lost a varsity game against the Episcopal Academy, making them the only fall sports team on campus to hold this piece of prestige.

     Over the past four years, Fords water polo has tallied seven victories against the Churchmen. And with a win on EA Day, Fords water polo, currently 7–0 in the Inter-Ac, can finish with an undefeated league record for the second year in a row. Water polo has been indelibly dominant this season. In their fifteenth game of the season, the team ceded its first and only loss to The Brunswick School, a Connecticut powerhouse.

     Returning many of its key players from last year’s Inter-Ac championship roster, Fords water polo experienced an explosive start to their season. Setting a high bar in their historic 2018 season with a 26–4 record, the Fords fulfilled their high expectations in the season’s early games.

Infographic by Sen Zelov ’21

     Sixth Form captain David Gobora has led the Fords in steals for the past two seasons.

     “With the success we had last year, our team was not content with anything but winning,” Gobora said. “Knowing how well this team could perform made all of us work harder to improve from the previous season.”

     This initial success continued as the season progressed, which allowed the Fords to improve from the previous season. The Fords have already beaten the PIAA State Champion team North Penn High School and the PIAA State Runner-Up Cumberland Valley High School. And with only EA Day remaining, the team has already solidified the best record in the program’s history.

     “The team recognized our opportunity to become the best team in the school’s history. We weren’t going to stop winning until we knew we were,” Gobora said.

     “We’ve been able to maintain dominance due to a mix of talented players, relentless training, positive mentality, and unyielding trust in the team and our coaches,” Sixth Form captain Koby Degenhardt said.

     Despite already achieving so much, Fords Water Polo is still not content. Until the final whistle blows in Newtown Square, the team remains focused on the task at hand. With the sweater and their undefeated Inter-Ac season at stake, the Fords do not plan on taking their matchup lightly.

     “Right now, our sole focus is on beating EA on Saturday. Even though we’re 7-0 and we already beat EA once, anything can happen in just four seven-minute periods,” Degenhardt said. “Emotions tend to flare with the sweater at stake, so we need to just stay calm and keep doing what we’ve done all season.” 

     “If we stay calm and trust in one another,” Gobora said, “we can definitely finish the season with a victory.”

Infographic by Xiaolong Huang ’21

Author: Ryan LaRocca '20

Ryan LaRocca is an editor-in-chief of the newspaper, previously serving as the editor of the sports section. Last year, his article "J.R. Leitz emerges as leader in the pool" received third place recognition for sports articles in the Philadelphia-area Scholastic Writing Awards. This year, his piece "Swimming & diving look to spring back" earned a Gold Key and his feature "Rise of the Jewish Student Union" earned a Silver Key. Outside of The Index, Ryan acts as the captain for the water polo team and the vice president of the Entrepreneurship Club. In the classroom, his favorite subject is history.