Positive attitude fuels progress as Burlingame falls against Sequoia

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Zachary Newman

Senior Archer Grenier prepares to release a shot toward the goal in the first quarter.

Zachary Newman, Staff Reporter

A frustrating second quarter proved to be boys’ varsity water polo’s (5-5 overall, 3-5 Peninsula Athletic League Ocean Division) undoing against Sequoia High School, spoiling the Panthers’ otherwise well-executed game on Tuesday, Oct. 11.

After ending the first quarter tied 4-4, which head coach Joey MacNichols called the “best quarter of the season,” the Panthers were unable to hand the Ravens their first loss of the season, falling with a final score of 16-11. 

Sequoia outscored the Panthers 7-1 in the second quarter. During that stretch, Burlingame struggled to produce much offense, which translated to quality looks for Sequoia, who utilized creative passing plays to generate goals. 

“I was expecting us to [beat] them and I’m kind of disappointed with the outcome,” senior Archer Grenier said. “If we carried energy and momentum [into the second quarter], we could have beaten them.”

MacNichols’ coaching style of constant energy helped Burlingame remain positive, even when trailing by six goals at halftime. 

“What fuels [me] is passion for the sport,” MacNichols said. “Seeing these guys adopt this mindset and a high speed, high-intensity level of play of water polo, it’s empowering. It’s inspiring. I’m proud from time to time, especially in this game, seeing my guys step up and grow and take more risks. That gets me fired up.”

The Panthers managed to respond in the second half, outscoring the Ravens 4-1 in the fourth quarter. 

“This family type of bond we have, we’ve just stayed resilient as a team,” Grenier said. “Even after this league [loss], we’ll keep our motivation up. We [won’t] get down on ourselves.”

In his postgame message, MacNichols emphasized team improvement since the last time they played Sequoia, when the Ravens cruised to a 16-1 win. 

“We’re playing with more camaraderie and synergy,” MacNichols said. “Younger guys are embracing their roles. They are staying committed and invested in every possession, focusing on the task at hand.”

Grenier echoed his coach’s sentiments about players buying in and developing a supportive culture. 

“Since the beginning of the season, we’ve had a lot of new guys, but we’ve been improving and getting to know our coach,” Grenier said. “We’re putting together a good team. I’m excited to see how we can close out the season and how our boys can manage next year.”

The team will now shift its focus to the final stretch of the regular season, where they will have opportunities to show off their in-season improvements against teams they lost to earlier in the year. 

MacNichols plans to ramp up practices to focus on set defense, conditioning, and game awareness. 

“I hope to close out the season with a positive record and win the next three games in front of us, including our Senior Night on October 19 against Mills,” MacNichols said. “If we bring the same intensity that we did today, I anticipate better results.”

No matter how the team finishes the season, its tough-minded attitude brings bright prospects for the program’s future. 

“I’m a little emotional about parting ways with the seniors because they have made the season very fun,” MacNichols said. “But that kind of balances out with my excitement for the future with all the younger guys coming out. I see this program evolving, so it’s exciting.”