It was a truly successful weekend for AquaTexans participating at OctoPoloFest in Angleton (not Alvin, I know!). Four Longhorn teams did well in the festival-style tournament with our 10u team finishing undefeated; our young 18u’s coming away with two wins, a tie, and a close loss; and our 14s an 12s having mixed results on the board but huge learning experiences for some of our newest athletes.
Coach Tom wrote the recap below, which understandably puts the focus on our friends from Longhorn. But some individual love to our AquaTex athletes who made their coach proud:
Tom mentions Silas’ shutout as a goalkeeper, which was such a fun experience for him and the team. But it fails to highlight just how dominant he was in the field, playing smothering defense, distributing the ball to every one of his 10u teammates, and scoring nearly at will. Undefeated!
Silas was also a contributor to our 12u coed team along with brother Tristan, who has become one of the most forceful centers on the team! A stellar weekend for Tristan both dominating the 12u competition and contributing hugely to the 14u team as well.
Which also included two of our newest athletes, Sophia and Laird. Despite it being their first ever competition Laird got significant playing time due to playing attentive defense (plus he scored his first ever goal), while Sophia quickly learned how to steal the ball and make her coach happy!
Kai did the same at the 18u level where he, Riley, and Luca had a terrific tournament. Kai is a fast learner and quickly understood how to withstand pressure from our Houston and North Texas competitors, leading to several assists. Riley was his usual annoying (in a good way!) defender making steals and shotblocking, while Luca rifled several from his usual lefty spot on offense, and also applied stifling pressure defensively. This was a young team to be playing 18u (eight of the roster could’ve played 16u), so it was especially gratifying that they only lost one game. Read Coach Tom’s recap for more details. Well done, and congratulations especially to our three newest tournament participants.
Coach Tom’s Recap
Our youngest Longhorn squad continued their undefeated streak from last summer to roll to a three win and one tie performance. After their first meeting ended in a draw, the Horns dove in for a rematch with the host Viper Pigeons and the 2nd time proved to be the charm. Stout defense combined with a deadly counter attack overwhelmed VP and we were able to pull away for a comfortable win in the 2nd half. Big shout outs to Joe and Claire who were fantastic in their club debuts; Claire was tireless in the midfield and Joe was a high impact player on offense and defense. Lennon was also a constant threat in front of the cage while Eric shored up the defense on our half of the pool. Silas was intimidating at primary goalkeeper and even managed to pitch a rare 20-0 shutout against Triumph.
The future looks bright for the Orange and White as our 10U numbers continue to grow and our veteran players add to their game. We’re looking forward to having even more first time athletes at the next event! .
Six Longhorn 12Us were joined by our 10s to compete in a very competitive 12U coed division. We played tough to finish 1-3 over the weekend with several losses going right down to the final buzzer. More shoutouts are in order for first time competitors Reese and Finnley: both athletes wasted no time making their presence felt in the pool and improved noticeably from game to game! By the final showdown, Reese was moving well without the ball and getting open for goal scoring opportunities while Finnley exhibited some early signs of a lock down defender. In addition to the newcomers, the 12s were led in the field by the constant offensive pressure applied by Jake and some sneaky steal and outlet pass work from Daniel. Tristan and Silas shared time in the goal while Pierce was speedy in transition both directions, helping back on defense and making extra passes on the counter attack.
While we didn’t finish with quite as many wins as we’d hoped, the 12Us were able to gain valuable experience from all the close contests and will bounce back stronger and ready to compete!
The Longhorn faithful were treated to a rollercoaster weekend from our 14U squad, as the team intermittently demonstrated their ability to go toe to toe with the best clubs in the state. While the up and down play resulted in a couple of close losses and a 2-2 final record, the frequent moments of water polo brilliance point to a team on the verge of a big breakthrough.
The shoutouts start with Maddox, who wasted no time building up his career block total in his first tournament as full time goalie. Maddox was also a key component of the counter attack as his outlet passes led to several quick hitting opportunities on offense. Often on the receiving end of those passes, Max and Kelly did the majority of the heavy lifting on the attack and drew the attention of the opposing defense. Both Landon and Jake took advantage of holes in the defense to chip in some nifty center plays. Cruz and Zeke showed their willingness (and awareness!) to help for steals while Miles and Flora demonstrated improved one on one defensive and counter attack speed. Keep your eyes peeled for more exciting games from this group as they work on their consistency in the water!
Our oldest squad also put on an exciting show for the fans, finishing with 2 wins, 1 tie, and 1 loss. Both the tie and loss came via heartbreaking last second goals from the opponents, and although certainly unpleasant in the moment, will no doubt prove to be invaluable experience moving forward.
This squad featured first time club competitor Seth who impressed early and often with tenacious press defense and speedy counter attack shooting. Manu manned the cage and turned back plenty of one on one attempts from opposing sides while also sending accurate outlet passes more than halfway down the field. Thomas, Axel, and Greysen comprised the rotating triple threat of 2 meter offense and defense. Each athlete provided a different look to the opponents and kept them guessing on our gameplan. Ella more than held her own on the perimeter and locked down several drive attempts from the wing while also keeping the defense honest with her outside shooting. Gavin went almost undefeated as primary sprinter and applied perimeter pressure to create disruption and steals.
Overall, a very strong showing from the 18Us as we were just two total goals away from being the only undefeated team in the division. You can bet the athletes will be motivated to get back to work in the pool this week and continue their trek to becoming the top club in Texas!
Texas Challenge Cup, November 6-7
So we do plan on sending teams to the well-run Texas Challenge Cup like this: Longhorn will enter 12u and 14u teams on which AquaTex athletes can play. AquaTex will enter a 16u boys team and 18u team if enough athletes want to go. I am VERY interested in assembling a 16u team that resembles the one we sent to JOs. It will definitely require some of our Longhorn friends so I’ll be making that recruiting effort. As always, update your Fall 2021 tournament commitment as soon as possible (let me know if you need the link).
UT Game Day
Speaking of Longhorn, we are invited to a Game Day at UT on Sunday, October 24. It has been added to the commitment form so please update. There is no cost to participate and we plan on having a very good 10u scrimmage, so all our Swim2Score athletes are expected to give it a try. Middle school and high school practices that day will be cancelled. Swim2Score and masters will take place, both likely to begin at 10:00 AM.
We’ve had to take a couple weekends off but we’re back this coming Saturday and Sunday including masters and Swim2Score, so we want to see all those youngsters back in the pool with us, hopefully preparing for our game day at UT! And we’ll expect to have a productive practice on Sunday with our friends from Longhorn.
I’ll send the RYTE fitting suits for boys back to the vendor at the end of this weekend. We’re also still trying to get a female fitting kit as soon as possible. For anyone who wants it, I have a quaTex women’s suit, size 30, for $40. Let me know if you want to try it on, or just buy it and I’ll deliver it to you to practice.
- A big welcome to Wes who gave the 12u group a try on Monday and we hope to see him again this week.
- This week’s note to newcomers: At tournaments and other competition you should expect to be at the proper location ready to warm up one hour before game time. Coaches will inform you if you are expected at a different time, including when our athletes are playing for Longhorn. If and when you ever have any doubt, just be on the deck ready to go an hour before we start a game.
See you on the deck,