The senior goalkeeper posted a .656 save percentage (second-best in school history) for the Malvern Prep water polo team, which posted a 23-4 record, won the InterAc championship and placed second at the Eastern Prep Water Polo Championships. He recorded 288 saves on the season, had five assists from goal and made 47 steals (second on the team.)
Q: What to you has been the highlight of your Malvern Prep water polo career to date? Can you tell us a little bit about that experience, and share your most vivid memory of it?
A: By far the best highlight of my water polo career was winning the Inter-Ac outright this season. The past two years, Malvern tied with Penn Charter for a share of the title. On our final Inter-Ac game of the season, we traveled to face a tough Haverford team on the road. After falling behind by four goals in the first half, my team and I were able to mount a comeback and win 7-5. When I heard the final whistle, I remember huddling around all my teammates to celebrate. It was truly a special moment to share Malvern’s first outright title with a great group of athletes.
Q: What sparked your initial interest in water polo? Have you always played goalie in water polo?
A: My older brother Patrick played water polo for Malvern during the 2007 and 2008 seasons. After playing soccer my freshman year, he convinced me to go out for the team. I had been to a few of his games while he played and thought the sport looked like a lot of fun. During the first week of pre-season of my sophomore year, Coach [Jay] Schiller pulled me aside and asked if I was interested in playing goalie. Since I had no idea what position I wanted to play, I decided to give it a shot. Since then, I have spent the past three years training to become the goalie I am today.
Q: Who has been your biggest mentor as a water polo goalie, and what was the most important thing they taught you?
A: When I first began practicing as a goalie, Pat Coffey was a year above me and was the varsity goalie for the team. Pat had been playing the sport for years and participated on several different club teams as well. It was awesome having a mentor with so much knowledge and passion for the game. I immediately began to learn his craft at practice. The most important thing he taught me was to keep a cool head when things were not going my way. I used to become very frustrated after letting in a goal. Pat taught me how keeping a calm mind and maintaining your focus can go a long way.
Q: What to you has been the most memorable save you’ve made during your Malvern Prep water polo career? Can you tell us a little bit about how the play developed?
A: Midway through the season we played Penn Charter for the first time at home. The game was close the whole way through with each team exchanging goals. With 20 seconds left in the fourth quarter, the score was tied 8-8. Suddenly, Penn Charter was on a breakaway with the ball. My teammate Aaron Salinas was able to foul the player and stop the attack, but as a result Penn Charter got a five meter penalty shot. With Friar Nation cheering me on, I managed to get the stop with no time left and send the game to overtime. We would ultimately win, preserving our dreams of the Inter-Ac title.
Q: What do you think is the strongest part of your game? What area of your game are you working on the most currently?
A: I’d say good positioning is the strongest part of my game. This year, I improved tremendously at putting myself in the right position to make a save. After facing hundreds of shots, I began to learn where shooters tend to shoot at different parts of the pool and position myself accordingly. Currently, I’m trying to become a better communicator for my defense. Part of my job is making sure my defense knows where they are supposed to be and what hand to have in the shot-blocking position.
Q: You’re second on the team in steals. What do you think have been the main reasons for your success in this area?
A: Part of the reason for my success is having a good starting position. It’s important to be able to get vertical or dive in any direction in order to make a save. The same position is also helpful for accumulating steals whenever the ball is near me. However, the main reason for my success is due to my teammates. At Malvern, we take pride in our defense. Throughout the season, my teammates were able to force bad passes for me to steal.
Q: What colleges are among your current favorites? What do you think you’d like to major in at college? Is there a career path that particularly interests you at the present time?
A: Currently, I am applying to seven different colleges but Villanova and Georgetown are my two favorites. I hope to enroll in the School of Business and obtain a degree in Accounting and Finance from one of the two. Eventually, I want to use my education to become an investment banker.
Q: Do you participate in any other extracurricular activities at Malvern Prep? What sparked your interest in joining each of these activities?
A: I am part of the National Honors Society, Science National Honors Society, Academic Competition Team, Adelphia Society, and MECO Student Team. Academics have always been very important to me, and I am always looking for ways to grow as a scholar. I also love helping out the younger students at Malvern and try to set a positive example for them to follow.
Rory Allen’s top picks
Book: Outliers by Malcolm Gladwell.
Author: Ernest Hemingway.
TV show: Suits.
Movie: Saving Private Ryan.
Pre-game pump-up song: Centuries by Fall Out Boy.
Athlete: Kevin Durant.
Historical figure (past and/or present): “Abraham Lincoln. He took office as President of the United States at a time when the country was splitting apart. His work toward equality and maintaining the Union is truly inspiring to me. He set a plan in motion to improve the future of the United States and his contributions to the world are still significant today.”
Team: Villanova men’s basketball.
Place to visit: Avalon, N.J.
(To be selected as Main Line Boys Athlete of the Week, a student-athlete must first be nominated by his coach.)
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