Sharks boys water polo plays well in Malibu Tournament 

A Malibu High boys water polo player is shown in action during the Malibu Tournament. The Sharks finished the tourney with a 2-2 record. Photo by McKenzie Jackson

After going 2-2 in event, Malibu begins Tri-Valley League play at Foothill Tech next week

The Malibu High boys water polo team was tied with the Carpinteria Warriors on Sept. 9.

Each team had two goals in the first quarter of their afternoon match in the Malibu Tournament at the pool at Malibu High School. However, the visiting Warriors pulled away, scoring eight unanswered goals to win 10-2. 

Malibu finished the three-day tournament with a 2-2 record. Malibu head coach Hayden Goldberg didn’t hang his head after the loss to Carpinteria, their last match of the event. 

“It’s a learning, not a losing mentality,” he explained. “All these games we had are small battles for the bigger war of our league. The most important thing is taking away — piece by piece, quarter by quarter — different lineups, who can step up to a higher level. Everything I am seeing in this tournament is stuff I can use to help our practice the next day.” 

Sharks senior goalkeeper Nico Marazzi said his team played well in the 12-team spectacle and are ready to dive in the pool against Tri-Valley League competition later this month. 

“We picked up a lot of good knowledge,” he said. “We are ready for league.”

Malibu finished the competition in sixth place. Palisades finished as the top team in tournament. The Malibu junior varsity team also competed in the event and finished 11th. The other squads that participated included Agoura, Burroughs, Oxnard, Rio Mesa, Royal, Thousand Oaks, Nordoff, and Ventura.

The Sharks varsity bunch opened the tournament on Sept. 7 with an 11-4 loss to Palisades. They bounced back to beat Nordoff 19-3 later that day. Before losing to the Warriors on the final day of the event, Malibu defeated Burroughs 9-7 that morning. 

The Sharks swam back from a three-goal deficit to down Burroughs. Goldberg said the triumph was Malibu’s most impressive win of the season. The Sharks, he said, started the contest as if they were “swimming in molasses” but had more energy in the second half. Goldberg told the team at halftime to play hard. 

“It took us a bit to shake the cobwebs out and then we figured out our game, our Sharks water polo,” he said.

Malibu senior Filip Kurial said the team learned a lot during the match.

“We got back in the game by playing together,” he noted. “We looked around, found the open person, and passed the ball.” 

Carpinteria scored on three consecutive possessions to take a three-goal lead over the Sharks in the second quarter of their matchup. Malibu tossed scoring attempts at the Warriors’ goal on their next two possessions but were denied each time. 

Carpinteria scored its sixth goal in the opening minute of the third quarter. Marazzi stymied a Warrior player’s next scoring attempt; however, a few minutes later the Warriors added a digit to their score. They scored again with under two minutes left in the quarter. 

Marazzi blocked a Carpinteria scoring attempt early in the fourth quarter. However, the Warriors scored a few minutes later. He then denied another shot, but the opposition tallied its 10th score before the contest ended. 

Goldberg called Marazzi “fantastic” and Kurial praised his play throughout the Malibu Tournament. 

“I’m really proud of him,” Kurial said of Marazzi. “He was blocking everything and going crazy.” 

The Sharks played at Brentwood on Tuesday. They host Nordoff on Thursday and Cate on Sept. 19. The team will play at Foothill Tech on Sept. 21. The match is their first Tri-Valley League competition of the season.

Malibu is the two-time defending champions of the league. The team won the league title outright in 2022 and advanced to the second round of the CIF playoffs. Two seasons ago, Malibu shared the league crown with Foothill Tech. 

The Sharks can win the league again, Goldberg said. He envisions the squad playing their best water polo in a controlled and relaxed manner.

“You have to go out there and play your game,” he stated. “If you make a bad pass, steal the ball back. Be profitable on both sides — offense and defense. Don’t just be a scorer.” 

Marazzi said Malibu is a knowledgeable and fast team that is strong on counter-attacks. 

“We are really building team chemistry,” he said. “We have a good balance. We can take home the league title and go further than the second round in the playoffs.”