It was a competitive game against Ransom Everglades, but in the end the Wolverines prevailed in the District 15 title game played on April 9 at Belen Jesuit’s Gian Zumpano Aquatic Center. With the 13-10 district title victory the Wolverines ended a two-year drought and once again became water polo district champions.
“In the past, we won the district title nine years in a row before losing it two years ago. Becoming district champions again was important,” said Head Coach Jimmy Aguilera. “For us to recover the title is a great confidence booster.”
“I am very proud of our water polo players,” said Principal Jose E. Roca ‘84. “They played a great game. They were focused and driven to win. In the end, all their hard work paid off. Water polo is a tough sport and I look forward to supporting them as they advance to regionals.”
The game began with an aggressive Belen squad, who initially scored 4 unanswered goals in the first period. The Raiders eventually rallied, equalizing the score. What followed was a slugfest of back-and-forth scoring in a tight game. However, a formation adjustment in the fourth period tipped the scales in favor of the Wolverines.
“Coach Jimmy Aguilera made a brilliant coaching move by putting Matthew Watkins ‘19, one of our D-Hole players, and moved him to the Hole Set position,” said Belen dad Joe Balerdi. “Ransom’s defensive focus on Joey Balerdi ‘19 left Watkins with a favorable matchup, and he scored 5 goals in the fourth period, giving us the district championship.”
The victory was an all-round team effort, with key performances by the goalie Kevin Ferguson, who by end of the game made 13 saves, as well as scorers Thomas Kurzan ‘19, with 3 goals; Joey Balerdi, with 2 goals; and Ignacio Aguilar ‘19, Alex Perez ‘20, and Raul Rodriguez ‘22 who each had one goal apiece.
“The team’s tactical play pushed them to victory,” said Coach Aguilera. “We’re very happy with the result.”
With the district title in hand, the Wolverines move on to the Regional Playoffs and face Gulliver Preparatory School Wednesday, April 17. The game will begin at 6:00 p.m.