Mustang Water Polo Stampedes the Rangers
by Ethan Lim
Northside’s men’s water polo team took on the Mather Rangers last Tuesday, March 5, for their first game of the season. The Rangers have been formidable opponents for the Mustangs in the past, but a new and improved Northside team looked to start the season strong. Taber Skiba, Adv. 902, Lukas Hoffman, Adv. 906, and Max Repetyuk, Adv. 901, are Northside’s strong men, while Bob Rogge, Adv. 801, Adam Toepfer, Adv. 807, and Sebastian Vondrak, Adv. 801, act as the leaders of the team. Together, they have a great combination of strength and skill that has transformed Northside’s polo team to be one of the best in the city.
The match took place at Northside in their standard six lane, 25-yard pool. The starters for the opening game were Toepfer, Skiba, Retpuka, Hoffman, and Jonah Brinkmann, Adv. 010. However, the Mustangs faced troubles early on. This was due to the fact that many of the players had not turned in their IHSA Physicals to the Athletic Department and without them, the players were not eligible to play in the game. Northside was without Rogge, the tactical mastermind of the team, and starting goalie Sebastian Vondrak. Even without a trained goalie, the Mustang’s still came out and expected to compete. Northside went on to dismantle the Rangers from the start. They shut down almost every attempt on goal, while providing continuous pressure on the Ranger’s side of the pool. By halftime, the team led 12-3. The starters were the ones that saw the most playing time and were rarely subbed out. In the end, the Mustangs came out on top 22-7--a rare double-digit win.
Even without their core players and very few rotations, the Mustangs were unstoppable in their play. Great defense combined with strong shot power from Hoffman and Skiba propelled Northside to victory. It is a great sign for what is to come in terms of Northside’s water polo season. When asked about the opening game, Captain Bob Rogge said, “It was a fantastic way to start the season. Even though I didn’t have my physical, it was awesome to see how well we played. I can’t wait to get in the water and score some goals.” Retpuka, who had an amazing game, also said, “Put your money on Northside this year. We’re coming for Whitney and Jones. They don’t have anything on us.”
Starting off the season strong is a key aspect to the success of the overall season. Such dominant play early on sets up a formula for success when facing better and stronger teams like Whitney Young, Jones, and St. Ignatius. These schools will be tougher, but the team is looking forward to the challenge.