All-Area boys water polo: Mario Cardenas, St. Andrew's
Saturday, June 04, 2011
by Paul Ivice
Mario Cardenas is a quiet player who prefers to lead by example.
"He's not a vocal leader, that's Rafio," St. Andrew's coach Kurt Predmore said of Cardenas' teammate, Rafio Castillo. "But Mario leads by performing."
With a school-record 111 goals, Cardenas led the Scots in scoring despite being used sparingly in matches that were not close. And in some close matches, Cardenas was asked to take a more defensive role, assigned to cover the opposing team's best scorer.
In the Scots' 14-5 rout of Boca Raton in the district finals, for example, Cardenas was assigned to cover Sean Grady, the Bobcats' top attacker.
Cardenas held Grady, who was averaging 3.7 goals per game, to just one goal in the Scots' 12-7 win.
"Mario had one of those unbelievable seasons," Predmore said. "He's an all-around, instinctive, super water polo player."
If the 2010 Scots lacked anything, it was consistent training and leadership from within, Predmore said of his team.
Cardenas was at the core of "a really solid group of seven seniors who wouldn't let each other fail or miss practice," Predmore said.
"There was definitely a lot more pressure in repeating," Cardenas said. "Last year, we were underdogs, so we didn't feel any pressure."
Cardenas was often the calm amid the storm for the Scots.
In the state final against Miami-Gulliver Prep, Cardenas helped St. Andrew's remain focused after Gulliver scored three times to erase an 8-5 deficit. The Scots scored three goals in the final three minutes to win 11-8.
Rafi Castillo, St. Andrew's, Sr.
Greg Norton, St. Andrew's, Sr.
Sean Grady, Boca Raton, Sr.
Scott Weigel, St. Andrew's, Sr.
Denver Sherman, Boca Raton, Soph.
Hunter Smith, Boca Raton, Sr.
Alec Greenberg, St. Andrew's, Sr.
COACH OF THE YEAR
In first year at St. Andrew's, he led the Scots to an undefeated record and another state championship. "We knew we had a good team coming in," Predmore said, noting that the team had only one senior last year. "The biggest obstacle was to keep them focused."
Boca Raton William Bathurst, Shawn Mowry, Nemanja Zgonjanin, Jason McCormick, Chase Koplow; St. Andrew's Quin Cassidy, Jonathan Larsen, Adam Weigel; Suncoast Nick Vanders, Dan Marquez, Billy Paxton, Steven Horgan.