The Puyallup Vikings earned their first top-five boys water polo state-tournament trophy since 2010 on Saturday, their best finish under coach Travis Braddock.
Puyallup finished off its tournament run with an 8-6 victory against the Auburn Mountainview Lions at Curtis High School in University Place.
Senior Jake Hodges had three goals and Christian Braddock added two goals in the win. Luke Kinney, Austin Stump and Lane Griffin also scored.
Puyallup went 3-2 at the tourney, and its other wins came against Lakes and Newport. The Vikings, who dropped games to Mercer Island and Curtis, finished 18-4-1 overall.
“It was so much nicer to end the season with a win and on a good note,” Travis Braddock said. “We came into the tournament as the sixth seed, and we knew we had a chance to finish higher than that and push ourselves to a higher level than in years past.”
Braddock said beating Auburn Mountainview was the perfect way to end the season.
“Auburn Mountainview is one of our biggest rivals,” he said. “They have really good coaching and some really good players. A lot of our players and their players play club polo together in the offseason. A lot of those guys are their good friends, so for us to beat them with everything on the line, it meant a lot to the guys.”
Braddock said it will be hard to say goodbye to his talented senior class. Ian Walsh, Jack Rose, Hodges and Griffin all were starters. Walsh, Hodges and Griffin were team captains.
“Our seniors worked so hard,” Braddock said. “I have coached most of them since they were in ninth grade. We’ve had several great years. Today was a really emotional day for our players and our coaches. It was a great finish to their high school water polo careers.”