Tourney gives Balers confidence in pool

Water polo team goes 4-0, sets sights on Acorns
Asking Tom Agan to expand on his water polo team’s shortcomings
is like trying to squeeze water out of a rock.
Water polo team goes 4-0, sets sights on Acorns

Asking Tom Agan to expand on his water polo team’s shortcomings is like trying to squeeze water out of a rock.

Who could blame the San Benito Haybalers coach for being tightlipped? He’s in the Tri-County Athletic League, where if teams smell blood in the water they attack like Great White sharks. Agan figures the less opponents know about his team, which has few liabilities to begin with, the harder it will be to defend against them.

From the look of last weekend’s Haybaler Invitational at The Pool, where San Benito swept the four games it played, Agan has little to worry about.

His squad waterlogged the competition in the six-team invitational by going 4-0, compiling victories against Santa Cruz, Sacred Heart, Monterey, and

Gilroy. Although the tournament did not yield a champion since each team played four games in the round robin format, it was clear which program had the best team in the water.

“The guys stepped up today and did some things offensively and defensively,” said Agan. “We did some things better. We did really well. Our guys worked real hard.”

In the wake of the stirring showing, the San Benito team is now focused on doing one thing this season: Knocking rival Live Oak from its pedestal atop the standings.

No matter how many times the league name changes the results are still the same. The Acorns, for the past decade-and-a-half, have come away champions of the league. Agan, although he’s “concerned” about the Acorns, also admits that if his band of men stay the course, things could change.

“The coach always does a good job,” said Agan. “Our goal is to get a good seed in CCS (Central Coast Section) because we’re tired of going one and out.”

Translation: Watch out Acorns.

Realistically, if the Haybalers expect to make any waves in the post season, they will have to win the TCAL title.

To improve their chances of beating the powerful Acorns, in the off-season most of the varsity team played tournaments throughout Santa Clara. Up north water polo is a bit more mainstream than it is in San Benito County and the surrounding areas.

With more exposure to the sport the locals in Santa Clara are usually a bit better. The benefits gained by the athletes from playing in the Haybalers’ summer water polo program are being reaped.

Saturday the Haybalers streamlined past the competition and dominated in almost every facet of the games played. They engulfed the Santa Cruz Cardinals 21-0, keelhauled the Gilroy Mustangs 15-8 and backstroked past the Monterey

Toreadors.

“We’ve got some guys that like shooting,” said Agan. “They try to have fun when they’re dominating, just to stay motivated.”

The Haybalers’ needed little motivation in its most impressive game, a 17-14 victory over Sacred Heart Prep Saturday morning. Field player Nick Barr, a senior, recorded seven goals while teammate Greg Henneman contributed six to the Haybalers cause.

Agan felt the win was the most significant because of the level of competition Sacred Heart brought to the pool.

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