Friar water polo found themselves on top of the standings for the fourth year in a row.
When many of the sports headlines at Malvern are dominated by marquee sports like football and basketball, the water polo team can sometimes be overlooked.
However, the team’s play over the past four seasons has been nothing short of brilliant. The team finished with a 7-1 record in Inter-Ac play, as well as a 21-6 record overall. Head Coach Jay Schiller attributed this success to the players making water polo their priority.
“One of the things [that’s contributed to the recent success] is that the guys are embracing water polo as their main sports,” Schiller said. “They’re playing water polo out of season… the guys that have been doing that, you can see them improve significantly.”
A product of that embracing of Water Polo has certainly been Senior Captain Zach Maher. He said that water polo is more than just a sport to him.
“Water Polo is kind of the essence of brotherhood at Malvern,” Maher said. “Being on a team and competing all the other guys in different grades and interacting with them, it creates a bond that you can’t really find anywhere else.”
The team was led by Maher and Senior Captain Nick Calvaresi, with each leader filling a specific role.
“Zach is by far the more vocal of the two of those guys, he was kinda the guy who kept things light,” Schiller said. “Nick’s a lot more of a quiet leader, and a leader by example… he has excellent practice habits.”
Although this was the 4th consecutive season that Malvern took home the Inter-Ac water polo title, the feeling of winning remains just as sweet.
“Any time you win an Inter-Ac championship it’s an awesome thing,” Schiller said. “It’s great because we feel that we’re not only winning as our team, but we’re contributing to the overall athletic success of the school.”
Winning an Inter-Ac title isn’t just rewarding for the players, but the coach as well.
“From a personal standpoint it’s very rewarding to see these guys start in August with a fresh slate… [we play] in a very deep league and a very strong league so to see the guys do what they did and win another championship is a big deal,” Schiller said
The title was even sweeter for the players, however.
“It was so awesome, that feeling is always indescribable,” Maher said. “It’s just so nice because we lost a lot of guys last year and a lot of guys stepped up this year and we were able to really get a cohesive atmosphere,” he said.
Although the team will be losing senior standouts like Maher, Calvaresi, Liam Close and Adam Yablonski, a 5th consecutive title is by no means unattainable.
“We’re going to be very good again next year,” Schiller said. “We’ll lose four seniors, but we have 13 juniors who all come back…We talked about [this] all the time, this year we felt that from our last player on the roster to our best player on the roster, it was the deepest team we have ever had.”