The girls water polo program has come a long way in 15 years. In 1996, the Colts participated in the East Bay Athletic League, and they weren’t very competitive. Fans and parents from opposing teams would give a sarcastic cheer anytime the Colts scored a goal.
Losing by 15-20 goals wasn’t a rare occurrence, it was the norm.
Things have changed since those days.
The current Logan team plays in the Mission Valley Athletic League, and losing by 20 is something of the past – especially when it comes to league play.
But until this year, the Colts really didn’t garner much respect, and for good reason. They had no league titles, they qualified for only one North Coast Section playoffs and they often finished in the middle to the bottom of the league standings.
All that has changed this year under the tutelage of coach Martín Muñoz, a 1999 graduate of Logan.
With a 10-2 win over Mission San Jose last week, Logan claimed its first MVAL crown. The Colts finished with a 9-1 league mark (21-3 overall), one game ahead of second-place Mission (8-2). Last year, the Colts finished fifth in a six-team league.
“I think we were surprised to win a league title,” Logan co-captain Taylor Manning said. “We have been kind of amazed at what we’ve been doing. We hoped we would do well, but we didn’t expect to do this well.”
It is quite amazing considering half the team is comprised of sophomores. And while the girls do the playing in the pool, a lot of credit has to go to Muñoz, who was on the inaugural Logan boys water polo team in 1996.
“I think this year has been inspiring for the girls,” Muñoz said. “When I resigned from (coaching) at Mission (San Jose) three years ago, I said the only position I would take would be at Logan to make them competitive.”
Muñoz also pointed out he can’t take all the credit. The late Joe Martinez, who passed away in April, was a coach at Mission and was one of the people who spearheaded the Ohlone Club team, which has given MVAL players an outlet during the offseason to polish their game.
“Every team in the league has a player who played for him,” Munoz said. “It’s really a great way to honor him.”
With the regular season out of the way, the No. 4 seeded Colts have begun to focus their attention on the NCS Division I playoffs and first round opponent, No. 13 Cal (12-10). The two, who have not played each other this season, will square off Saturday at the Soda Aquatic Center in Campolindo at 2:30 p.m.
“Right now, we’re not feeling too confident, but we have a focus on what we need to do this weekend and what we need to do to beat this team,” Manning said.
The Colts, who have never won a section playoff game, made their only NCS appearance in 2004 when it suffered a 20-2 loss to champion Monte Vista. The support for the team, however, is now stronger than ever, Muñoz said.
“We have a lot of siblings and kids come out to our games,” Muñoz said. “When you’re competitive, it inspires not only our kids but the next generation and that makes the program stronger.”
Follow sports writer Steve R. Waterhouse on Twitter @SRWaterhouse.