Boys Water Polo Team Exits Playoffs

Isaac Ng, reporter

The Venice High School boys water polo varsity team, led by Coach Sophie Sabbah, entered the playoffs as the 10th seed in Division I. Unfortunately, they exited the second round of the playoffs with a 12-7 loss to El Camino High School on Nov. 6. This was a repeat of last year’s season ending when they also lost in the second round of the playoffs.


“We did pretty well for a rebuilding year,” said Ms. Sabbah. “And this is a good foundation for next year. I am proud of my boys.” For the Gondoliers, the season was a rebuilding year, because the entire varsity starting lineup had graduated last year, leaving a roster filled with young players. 


Both captains, Andres Ayuyao and Gabe Purnell, were also proud of their team’s competitiveness despite the loss. “There’s always room for improvement,” said Purnell. “But after the second quarter, we worked well, and I am proud of our season.”


“Coach always has a saying that we are a ‘second-half team,’” added Ayuyao. “Which means that we start out slow in the first half but finish strong in the second half. And with our competitiveness, we just needed to come out with a little more intensity in the last quarter and we would’ve won. But I’m proud of how we played.”


Ayuyao and Vlad Alexiu, the only two seniors on the team, reflected on their last experiences as Venice High School Gondoliers.


“It was a unique experience for we,” said Ayuyao. “It was crazy with our schedule all over the place. But it was a great adventure, and this was more than enough for me.”


Alexiu transferred from US Charter, which doesn’t have a water polo team, to Venice last year to join the water polo team.

 “It was a fun experience making new friends,” said Alexiu. “I am proud of what we were able to accomplish. It was a fun season and I’m glad we made the playoffs.” 


As boys water polo season wraps up, the girls water polo team, also led by Ms. Sabbah, is starting their season soon.