Water polo rebuilds team

Lucia Bosacoma, Opinions Editor

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Senior Gavin Fera warms up with a 200-yard freestyle swim at the first practice of the season on Feb. 27. According to Mark Rebora, boys water polo head coach, Fera is a strong thrower, giving the team a unique advantage. Photo by Maggie Li

When Mark Rebora, boys water polo head coach, first began coaching at Glenbrook North 14 years ago, he had a maximum of 10 boys on his varsity team. Today, Rebora has plenty of boys in the water polo program, enough to lose 14 seniors and still have players to field a team this year.

Rebora said he can afford these losses because water polo has become such a popular sport and new players join the team every year.

Senior Joey Sperber, who was on the 2016 JV water polo team, said the loss of so many seniors will be an adjustment for the varsity team, but it will be refreshing to see new faces occupying varsity positions.

“We’re not all amazing water polo players, but together I think we work really well,” Sperber said.

Rebora said the team’s ability to cooperate has made him hopeful for the upcoming season.

“Sometimes if you have one phenomenal player, then it destroys the cohesiveness,” said Rebora. “I know … this year we don’t necessarily have that person, so they’re going to have to play as a [seven-player] unit. If they’re not cohesive, we make mistakes.”

Sperber said because so many of the water polo players are also swimmers, the back-to-back swimming and water polo seasons help the team easily transition into the water polo season.

To figure out who is going to make the varsity roster, Rebora said the boys water polo program hosts a “green and gold scrimmage” where IHSA officials come and officiate a game amongst the team. Half of the water polo players are on the green team, and half are on the gold team. This year’s scrimmage is scheduled for March 4.

“We’re going to play against ourselves, and we’re going to pick our varsity players out from those scrimmages to see who can play,” said Rebora. “It’s kind of a strict evaluation process.”

Rebora said the boys water polo program has prepared for the loss of the seniors by ensuring that the top JV players have gotten varsity exposure.

“All of them have played in at least one or two varsity games because we knew that these guys would have to become our leaders for next year,” Rebora said.

In addition to competing alongside varsity players during games, senior Gavin Fera said the JV players often got to scrimmage and do drills with him and other varsity players at practices.

In preparation for this season, Rebora said he would like the team to work on their passing accuracy and increase the speed of play.

“We’d like to win conference, and we’d like to advance through sectionals,” said Rebora. “And sometimes those are pretty lofty goals, but we’ve done [it before], so why change?”

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