Sharks boys water polo to take on alumni in Alumni Game

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An enthusiastic crowd cheers on the Malibu boys water polo team during its first-round CIF games against La Canada. Photo by Devon Meyers

Malibu’s 10-0 victory over Cate in October put the league crown in their grasp

The Malibu Sharks boys water polo team will hit the pool one more time this month. 

The squad, which ended its season with 21-12 record this month, will take on a group of former Sharks players in the Malibu water polo program’s annual Alumni Game on Saturday at Malibu High School.

Sharks coach Hayden Goldberg, himself a former Malibu player, said the contest will be a fun experience featuring Sharks water polo alumni from squads as far back as the 1990s. 

“Throughout the years, all these D1 athletes have come back to beat up on the boys, but this year our boys will be in shape and some of the older guys won’t be in shape,” he said. “Its going to be a great time.” 

The boys squad will face their elders at 1 p.m. The Sharks girls team will play a group of alumni at noon. 

The alumni contest has been held nearly every Saturday after Thanksgiving since 1998. The event wasn’t held in 2018 because of the Woolsey Fire, and it was put on hiatus 2020 because of the pandemic. Power outages stopped the alumni spectacle in 2021. 

Last year, the boys alumni beat their high school counterparts 15-14. A girls alumni team beat a team of girls from the 2021 and 2022 Sharks water polo teams 11-7. 

The alumni celebration comes over three weeks after the Sharks’ season ended in the second round of the CIF playoffs. The team, champs of Tri-Valley League, were downed 18-5 by the Bonita Bearcats. The Bearcats went on to win the CIF title.

Malibu defeated La Canada 12-7 in the first round of the playoffs. 

Goldberg said Malibu played hard throughout the contest. That toughness, he said, has him excited about how good the team will be in 2024. The coach said the group’s 2023 campaign is a great base to build from.

“It was successful from the summer program when we had the boys show how much they were committed by being there for every practice, all the way to the start of our hell week, all the way to our league, and all the way to CIF,” he said. “The guys that are coming back next year know what to do. We are just building stepping stones in the right direction.”

Malibu senior Filip Kurial stood out this season. 

“He was a monster for us,” Goldberg said. “He did everything we asked of him and more. The kid is such a great kid.” 

Malibu’s 10-0 victory over Cate in October put the league crown in their grasp. Goldberg said that was the team’s best performance of the year. 

“Defensively, offensively,” he said. “I didn’t even feel like I was coaching. They just did it. They were spectacular. Everything was firing.”