Ranked 2nd in the state, Skyline Eagles are dominating the Water Polo scene in the 2015-16 season, defeating even the unbeatable Rockford. But with recent injury of goalie, Dunkan Kennedy, who suffered a concussion, JV goalie Mason Hickman had to step up to the plate.
A Community Freshman, Mason is a swimmer and a lacrosse player who rose beautifully to the challenge. During the key game against Grand Haven (5-6) he saved 9 goals, including four 1-on-1 saves. Despite several injured players, Skyline remains at the top of its game with wins against Sylvania, Pioneer and Dexter this weekend, as well as against Chelsea in tonight’s match.
With 10 well seasoned seniors on the team, the team has a very good chance of winning State championships this year.
But a concern arises for the 2016-17 season. 10 Senior athletes playing at the top of their game means 10 best players leaving Skyline Water Polo next year, leaving only two Varsity players in key positions to carry on the legacy. So, coaches Rebecca Godek and Matthew Graziano have been strategically placing new players into varsity games to hone the next gen of Skyline Polo players.
What is incredible about Skyline’s Water Polo is that above all else, these guys are team players. Knowing that next year JV will need to step up, Senior Zeke Majeske opted to play on JV to help junior players develop their skill set, as team captain. During tonight’s game against Chelsea, senior players set up for the new guys to get a real taste of a varsity game, and passed up opportunities to score, to give the new players get their chance.
It was intense to watch JV players step in at a Varsity game. Sophomore Michael MacGillivray (also in his first year of Water Polo), who scored 4 goals and Sophomore Joshua Smith with countless assists, show great promise for next year’s Varsity.
Eagles also did great in the nail-biter JV game, where MacGillvray scored twice, Hickman saved countless goals, and Smith scored the winning goal in the extra period.
“It’s important to give the younger players opportunities like this during the varsity game,” said JV Coach Matt Graziano, “They held their own and it’s always nice to see a player take that next step and look like they belong. With graduation and a few injuries it’s great to be able to get the experience of being introduced to the varsity game, because next year these players will be counted on to play Varsity and represent the team.”
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