Local pair win water polo gold

Maple Ridge’s Giordano Marconato and Shawn Muller are national champions after their Pacific Storm water polo team took home gold at Water Polo Canada’s U-16 National Club Championships in Surrey last weekend.

The Storm looked strong in the early going, registering a 20–3 win over Calgary Black, before beating Team Saskatchewan 20–4 in their second game of the tournament.

That set up a match-up with the No. 1-ranked Dollard des Ormeaux, from Quebec. After a seesaw battle for much of the first three quarters, the Storm were able to pull ahead and win 6-3 and advance to the semi-finals.

There the Storm faced Calgary Gold, their final hurdle before the gold medal final. The Calgary team provided some tough competition, but it was the Storm who came out ahead, edging them 8-7.

The Storm faced Dollard des Ormeaux once again in the final, and while the more than 200 spectators may have been hoping to witness an epic battle, it didn’t quite turn out that way. By the second quarter, Dollard des Ormeaux was struggling to swim with the Storm boys, and what had started as a tight checking game quickly became dominated by the Storm’s offence. Dollard des Ormeaux allowed the Storm numerous scoring opportunities, which they capitalized on, cruising to a 9-4 victory and the gold medal.

Marconato managed to overcome his jetlag from having just returned from his club team in Italy and put on a defensive clinic against some of the best hole sets Canada has to offer over the course of the tournament. Marconato is attending a U-16 Team Canada Camp this week with hopes of making the Canadian national program, before heading to Italy to conclude the U-15 Italian Championships.

Muller, meanwhile, was rewarded with two game stars after only just recently coming back to the sport after retiring last summer. Mulller has been selected to Team BC and plans on playing with the provincial program this summer.