Friday, February 03, 2023


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Sports Article
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Indian Water Polo Teams Continue to Improve
Written by Ernie Quatrani Correspondent

Indians team captain Kevin Himmelwright prepares to fire a shot on goal as a Pennridge defender tries to block the attempt.

                Laying the foundation for something that will stand the test of time is hard work. As Upper Perk water polo well knows. The young and short-handed Indians suffered through a couple of lopsided losses to visiting Pennridge on Monday in another learning experience as the team looks to the future.

                The Rams swam to a 12-2 win in the girls match and overwhelmed the boys 17-3.

                First-year head coach Brien Kalnoski, who also runs Upper Perk's swimming program, has seen improvement in his young teams, and he optimistically is taking the long-term view, establishing that sturdy foundation that can be built upon over the next couple of years.

                "The credit to our guys is that we hang in there, or our girls, with little to no subs. With the players that we have, we're doing the best that we can with all the bigger teams. We're going to have days like this," Kalnoski said.

                The Tribe girls, composed mostly of sophomores, were no match for the visitors who scored six first-period goals. Rachel Keyser and Claire Beno scored four and three goals apiece in the match for the Rams.

                The Tribe did gain some solace by playing the Rams to a 1-1 tie in the second period. Upper Perk freshman goalie Abigail Foreman came up with some spectacular saves while playing at the shallow end and Lotte Kastelein netted Upper Perk's first goal.

                Sophomore Bailey McCausland scored Upper Perk's other goal with 3:21 to play.

                The boys suffered a similar fate, falling behind 7-0 in a four-and-a-half minute span of the opening period. For the game, 10 different Rams notched goals with Josh Yardley and Kevin Jones scoring three apiece.

                The goal scorers for the Tribe were Joel Williams and freshman Trevor Cairns, who found the back of the cage twice.

                "Pennridge fields a very good team," Kalnoski said. "Obviously, they're much larger than we are. They're bigger, faster and they've got a lot more of them."

                The Upper Perk coach prefers to focus on the positives and was upbeat after the games.

                Kalnoski lauded his two freshmen goalies, Foreman and Zach Fetchen. Despite the scores, both netminders made many saves, some of the spectacular variety.

                "They're learning the game. They're taking giant steps this year."

                Overall, Kalnoski describes the season as "tremendous" because of the improvement he has seen in fundamentals compared to where the program was last year.

                "The kids are doing the right thing to become a better water polo player and a better water polo team. It's just a matter of progressing.

                "I've laid out a very clear plan of what we're going to do and how we're going to do it. The kids have bought into that." 

                For example, two aspects of the blueprint includes morning practices and dry land training.

                Kalnoski views the swimming and water polo programs as existing under the same umbrella. Some of the participants enjoy polo more; some view polo as a chance to stay in shape for the swim season.

                "I understand that there are kids who like one or the other a little bit more, but they are inclusive of each other. They're not two separate things."






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