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1996 PREP PREVIEW WATER POLO | Six Teams To Watch

Esperanza

September 11, 1996

Coach: Doug Kimberly (11th year).

1995: 14-15, 4-1 in Sunset League; lost to Costa Mesa, 9-6, in the semifinals of the Division II playoffs.

Key returners: Elliot Lee, driver, Sr.; Brian Mericle, two-meter man, Sr.; Sherman Shen, driver, Sr.; Chad Simendinger, driver, Sr.; Bob Waltz, two-meter defender, Sr.

Key newcomers: Joe Doty, driver, Jr.; Cory Jobst, two-meter man, Jr.; Matt Schoeneman, goalkeeper, Jr.; Travis Vayssie, two-meter man, Jr.

Outlook: It's not wise to overlook Esperanza. Even last season, when the Aztecs went 12-14 in the regular season, they were able to advance to the semifinals--for the fourth consecutive season. Kimberly likes his team's chances this year. He points to his players' intelligence (their average GPA is above 4.0) and togetherness. Los Alamitos should give the Aztecs a strong battle in league, but the edge goes to Esperanza because of experience: Mericle started on a section championship team in 1994. Simendinger scored more than 70 goals last season.

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