Men’s Water Polo Steals the #3 NAIA Ranking

Sean Little takes a shot as Vanguard finishes their second season of men's water polo.
Sean Little takes a shot as Vanguard finishes their second season of men's water polo.
Image: Michael Rea

It looked like a rough season for the upstart mens water polo team, who had ended an inaugural season with a final record of 10-18.

This season’s team was a strong squad which included the talented seniors Sebastian Cordoba and Michael Cobarubbius II, who had redshirted last season.

However the Lions’ final record of 12 wins and 23 losses is a frustrating statistic and could lead you to believe the Lions were an easy win for opponents.But a record can be deceiving, so here are some of the numbers.

  • 7: the number of losses that have been by a deficit of one goal.
  • 19: the number of wins the Lions would have if they had won each of their one goal losses.
  • 16: The number of nationally ranked Top#20 squads the Lions have competed up against.
  • 1: the national ranking of NCAA-D1 water polo squad Cal (at the date of the match).

Starting sophomore Kyle Kim-E affirmed what was already noticeable in the Lions’ statistics for the 2011-2012 season.

“What most people confuse is that when they hear top 20, they assume it’s top 20 in GSAC or NAIA,” Kim-E explained. “But in water polo there aren’t enough teams in the NAIA to have conference. Therefore, when you hear the top 20, it is actually the top 20 in the entire nation.”

Kim-E went on to say, “While our overall record may not show how much we had improved or how good of a team we were, we came pretty close to being one of the top 20 teams in the entire country.”

Although the Lions were not fortunate enough to make it into the national top 20 this season, they do have their priorities straight.

“The most important factor of our team is that we all respect and love each other in and outside of the water, and that’s what Gold Pride is all about,” Kim-E said.

If you take the time to ask the team about this season, they will tell you it was a success. Senior Kevin Burzynski had no regrets to share.

“The season was a huge improvement from last year. We beat teams this year that blew us out of the water last year. Our coach told us that he planned this second season out so we played more skilled teams than we did last year,” Burzynski said.

Throughout the long season the team never stopped, playing to the last second in each and every game. Such was the case when the Lions put away the game winning goal with three seconds left on the clock against Fresno Pacific University, a team which spent time in the top 20 rankings during the regular season.

The win against Fresno Pacific also was the win which secured the third overall ranking in NAIA for water polo.

“It was a great win because not only did we finish third overall in NAIA but we finally won by one, instead of losing by one,” Kim-E said. “It was a great way for the season to end and a great way to leave our first graduating class of Senior water polo players.”

Burzynski is one of the inaugural co-captains of the water polo program.

“This was my all time favorite water polo season I have ever played in in all 13 years of playing water polo because of the adversity we overcame. We were always the underdogs and that was a good feeling,” he said.

is a senior at Vanguard and is currently pursuing a degree in Communications with a Journalism emphasis.

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