Gah-Kai Leung dips his toe into a sport he hasn’t reported on before
UCL’s water polo teams had mixed results at last Saturday’s Varsity tournament against rivals King’s College. The men’s side flattened their opponents 13-3, while for the women it was exactly the opposite story as they suffered a catastrophic defeat.
The UCL men’s side dominated their game from the outset, capitalising on the exhaustion of some of their opposite numbers who had also competed in the swimming events earlier in the evening. KCL were severely rattled as UCL went up 6-0 in the first half and continued to pile on the aggression in the second half of the game.
The squad’s right flank worked particularly well for them, using that side of the pool to set up several stunning goals. Late in the second half, King’s regained some ground and scored three times in the space of ten minutes, but they never showed signs of mounting any significant threat to their opponents. Their defence repeatedly broke down and UCL finished the night with 13 goals to KCL’s 3.
Ivor Sokolic, a PhD student at SSEES, put the team’s success down to the progress they had been making all year. “We have picked up a different level in the game,” he said. Water polo president Andy Luckiewicz said the men had expected a strong challenge from a King’s side whom his team had already defeated earlier in the season. He joked: “It was easier to win this match than to reclaim the £5 travel expenses!”
By contrast the UCL women’s side started the night well, penetrating deep into KCL territory, but they conceded a goal within the first few minutes. Sensing weakness, King’s went on the offence and by half time they were way in the lead with a score of 6-1.
Though UCL put up a strong defence and came close to scoring on a few occasions, it was difficult to regain momentum. Several timeouts saw the team revise their tactics in a bid to turn the tables and UCL were even awarded a penalty in the second half, which was easily converted, but it was too little too late.
Kristof Kutasi, who captains the UCL men’s first team, defended the women’s poor performance. “A few of them were ill but they still chose to play,” the second-year economics student said. “They work very hard and are committed to the sport.” Meanwhile Mr Luckiewicz, a third-year medical student, hopes that the men’s victory will be a stepping stone towards claiming the national trophy. He said: “On behalf of the club, I would like to thank all our fans, players and coach Andrea. “Special thanks to Kirill and Nick for their NBA-style commentary and care taken for bettering of the club.”
It was a fair result in the end and it was a very fun day! Good job UCL!
Feature image credit: Gah-Kai Leung