Defensive Dolphins demonstrate prowess
Water polo: Bantam team finishes tied for best record at home tournament
By: By Remy Greer
| Posted: Wednesday, Jan 23, 2013 06:00 am
The best offence was a good defence for the Prairie Dolphins at their annual water polo home tournament at the Okotoks Recreation Centre.
The Dolphins’ Bantam boys used a stingy defence to dispatch the Calgary Wild 11-8 to finish tied for the best record at the Dolphins Tournament Sunday at the Riley Minue Pool in Okotoks.
“The keys were to really help out on defence because they were a way faster team,” said Dolphin standout and Turner Valley resident Michael Duval. “And to try and swim into the open pool as much as possible and not crowd so not all of the defence are around each other.”
Duval is a second-year Bantam who’s also a member of the Calgary Torpedoes select team and is looking to suit up for Team Alberta this summer. He said the Dolphins were a quick study during the weekend and never made the same mistake twice.
“With the mistakes we made we knew we had to improve on them,” Duval said. “When we made those mistakes we automatically knew what we had to do next and just had to perfect those things.”
The Dolphins, based out of Okotoks and High River, proved to be prolific in transition on offence as well.
Joseph Haworth and Duval formed quite the dynamic duo in the tournament final, with the latter looking to be a man amongst boys at times in the Okotoks pool.
“It was really helpful that Joseph is able to throw the ball up to me all the way down the pool so I can finish,” said Duval.
As a first-year Dolphin boasting a strong swimming background with the Okotoks Stingrays, Haworth is happy to be the chief playmaker and responsible defender.
“I usually don’t score goals and mostly get a lot of assists,” said Haworth, 13. “Michael will get ahead in the pool and I will be back and throw it to him for a breakaway goal.”
Twelve-year-old Aiden Keith earned his first game in goal in the second half of the tournament final, no less.
Keith held the dangerous Calgary Wild at bay, but was quick to credit his blockers in front of him.
“I think it was our defence,” Keith said. “We had to cover their better guys and then Michael when he had the ball he shot very well today.”
The Dolphins have proven to be tournament specialists this season as the club won its only other round-robin competition in Innisfail in early December.
“We haven’t won many of our season games, but in tournaments we have good luck,” Haworth noted.
Winning their home tournament was an impressive feat given the relative inexperience on the roster.
A newcomer to the sport and to Okotoks as a transplant from Ontario, Branden Bonhan is finding solace in the challenge of being a water-polo upstart.
“You definitely need to be fit, need to be a strong swimmer and it’s hard catching the ball with one hand,” Bonhan said. “I like the positions low on the sides close to the net because if you get the ball it’s easy to shoot it on net and still get it in.”
In the Bantam girls division, the Dolphins finished with the best record to win the tournament on Saturday evening. The Atom Dolphins earned a second place finish with the St. Albert Thunderbirds coming out on top.
The Dolphins continue league play until April with tournament action recommencing in early February in Medicine Hat.
For the latest on the Dolphins Water Polo Club visit www.dolphinswaterpolo.ca