According to water polo coach Mark Scandling, most players on the boys’ varsity water polo team came to Deerfield as swimmers and learned to play water polo while they were here. Mr. Scandling has led the team to four New England titles in the past five years.
“I think we can do it again,” said co-captain Sloan Damon ’13, when asked whether the team has a chance at the New England championship for a second consecutive season.
After losing eight seniors last year, including two current Division 1 players (Chris Miao ’12 at Harvard and Will Grant ’12 at Santa Clara), the team is now roughly half sophomores.
“We have a relatively young team,” said Mr. Scandling.
Oscar Miao ’13, co-captain with Damon, is the only returning starter from last season. This season’s lineup includes Quinn Smith ’14 and Connor Sullivan ’15—both substitutes on last year’s team who gradually received more playing time as the season unfolded—as well as Hugo Marsans ’14, a new recruit.
The team recently suffered an early loss (12-9) to Choate, its strongest competitor.
“We are not discouraged. It is too early to tell who will be the team to beat,” Mr. Scandling said.
After only a week of practice after the Choate loss, Damon said the team has made remarkable improvements on transitions from offense to defense and vice versa.
Those who have never played water polo or seen it played may not know that the physical contact between opponents is extremely aggressive and often dangerous. “It can be pretty intense. Someone is always trying to drown you.” Damon said.