Rapids Water Polo Recap: St. James Tournament 1/23/19

January 23, 2019 Posted by SwimRVA


Author: Coach Jacob Henry

I was going to wait until Leslie sent me the official final scores to send out a recap email but I haven’t received them yet so I’m just going to do my best with the scores! We had a LOT of success this weekend and got a lot of good experience for our newer players.

Our 12U Team Absolutely Blew Me Out of the Water With their Performance.

We took it to the Navy 12U in our first game, scoring 24 goals in what was many players first 12U tournament. Our second game was EASILY the most watched and most exciting game of the entire tournament, where we took Capital to overtime and ended up in a tie, 13-13. I could not be more proud of the composure the SwimRVA 12U’s showed in our overtime game. They cheered on their team, were engaged in the game, and did not give up any easy opportunities for the opposition.

Our conditioning paid off big time as we played an extra quarter and still took it to them. Koji Wood and Sasha Babic were a big part of our high powered offense; I can not even count how many goals and assists those two had. Almost every time we were on defense Koji was there to shut the center down and steal the ball. And every time possession changed, Sasha was swimming down the pool open on the counter attack.

Our ball movement on offense kept the entire team involved and wore defenses down. Nathan Karluk stepped in as a goalie in our last game and left everybody SHOCKED. He made 6 saves clutch saves in overtime to keep our team alive. I told the athletes a bunch of times after the tournament but I cannot say it enough, I am so proud of their performance, poise, and teamwork that made this tournament so successful for us. Brady Sakowitz played in his first water polo tournament ever! James McRae, Jordan Clarke, Bergen Korver, Tobi Adedeji, and Elspeth McNulty all stepped up from the Splashball age group to play in a 12U game and honestly, you could not even tell the other teams were 1-2 years older than them.

This Weekend Was Also an Excellent Learning Experience for our 14U Age Group

With a VERY new team I knew this weekend was going to be a challenge in this age group. We also had a tough schedule playing the Navy A team twice and the Capital A team. We lost to both A teams, but beat the Capital B Team to give us at least one win over the weekend.

It was Leila Maynard, Sasha Babic, and Nathan Karluks first tournament as a 14U player, and Kaelyn Gutzwillers first tournament EVER as a Rapid! Tyler Kannan stepped in for his first tournament as a goalie and Wyatt Lamb played his first tournament as a center.

As you can see there were a lot of firsts for us in this age group and that experience is priceless. For such a young team we showed a lot of mental toughness as nobody gave up on plays and we played hard until the final whistle. Sev McNulty played a huge role as a playmaker for our team and helped control our possessions and tempo to give us opportunities on offense. With our first tournament with a very new 14U team behind our belt I know exactly what is needed to prepare for our next tournament and have no doubt we will continue to improve!

The 16U Team Played Phenomenally As Well!

We played four games and over the series of the tournament you could see the chemistry and team play start to develop. Our first game against the Navy B Team we won 9-7. Our second game against Capital we lost 15-12. Our third game was where the athletes really started to understand each other and their play styles, and we walloped the Potomac 16U team 23-11. We then played the Navy B Team again and get them 18-7, a MUCH different story than our first game against them.

With several players travelling to compete with us, it was important the athletes got along and worked with each other. Brett Sill, Kiley Sill, Nate Kromkowski, Sam Moore, and Balint Bokros are all familiar faces that play with us from the VA Beach program and have gotten along with our players well. Blake Wind flew all the way from Texas to compete with our team this weekend and he immediately got along with our team and was a huge addition for us. You might have noticed his grandfather, John Ivins, behind our bench helping our kids with some tactics and skills, too.

Danilo Lemaic held it down in the net for us and our defense dropping to the center made it hard to score for opposing teams. Our man up situations looked REALLY good as we were able to draw exclusions and capitalize off them often. The way our 16U team has played in the past few tournaments has made me contemplate bigger and better tournaments for them, as I think they can be a really strong team to compete against.

Everybody who played this weekend should be patting themselves on the back because we represented SwimRVA and Richmond as a whole very well. I for sure am proud of our athletes and how they performed, in and out of the water.

As always, if you have any pictures or videos to share with the team, feel free to reply to this email with them or shout out any players / plays you thought deserve recognition that I may have missed! We made a LOT of plays this weekend.

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