Courtesy, Gray Bee Water Polo Team
The St. Benedict’s Water Polo team went through many challenges as individuals and a team altogether in the 2019-20 school year. Long hours of hard work and practices were put in as the team focused on getting stronger.
As the season started to pick up, the team moved forward. Daryl the “head Coach” stepped in for Mr. Spencer Vespole, forced to take sick leave, gave the team words of encouragement. These were words, he said, he had heard from Mr. Vespole as a student with Mr. Vespole as his coach. “We just need to trust him and to remember what he told us and to work hard in practice and everything will fall in line.”
During the Garden State Championships in March, the team made it to the championship game before finishing as runner-up to the host school, Lawrenceville Academy of Lawrenceville, N.J.
SBP opened the tournament against the Pennington School and, for the third time this season, beat the team from Mercer County, 14-9. Carlos Presina SY led SBP with 5 goals, while KyRon Parker UDII had 4 and Rafael Rios added a hat trick.
The Gray Bees dropped the second game to the Pingry School, 18-14, but came back strong the next day. Team members reversed an earlier season loss to St. Peter’s with a 18-14 triumph, with Presina and Eddie Zuniga UDII hitting for 5 goals apiece. St. Benedict’s made it to the championship by battling Lawrenceville to a 17-17 draw, which gave SBP a berth in the final against the same school. Zuniga led SBP with 7 goals.
The championship game, however, saw the Gray Bees run out of steam and drop a 21-10 decision to the Big Red. Zuniga led SBP with a team high — 21 goals for the tournament — while Presina and Parker each added 18 goals. Rafael Rios SY chipped in the 8 goals for SBP (8-15-1).
When the season was over the Water Polo team got a little bit of spark back when the school hosted a clinic with 3 Gold U.S.A Olympians. With the advent of the coronavirus, however, spring season water polo was cancelled.