The Pioneer water polo team started the season co-hosting the Early Bird Invitational on Saturday and opened with a win 4-3 at home over Seaholm.
The Pioneers had balanced scoring from senior Cam Serr, junior Joe Krushelnick, senior Diego Sanchez-Burks, and senior Liam Smallwood.
Making his varsity debut as goalie was junior Ben Antonellis who saved four of six shots on net and had two steals. Senior captain Sean Lee had four steals to help secure the win in the defensive battle.
Pioneer dropped their second game of the Early Bird Invitational to last year’s state runner-up Okemos 3-11. Pioneer played well in the first half down 2-4 at halftime. However, turnovers and mistakes cost the Pioneers in second half.
Pioneer goals came from Cam Serr, Sean Lee and Diego Sanchez-Burks. Ben Antonellis had nine saves as goalie.
In the third game of the Early Bird Invitational, Pioneer beat Sycamore (OH.) 12 – 4 and advanced to the fifth-place game. Pioneer was led by Diego Sanchez-Burks in a breakout game who had six goals, four assists, five steals and drew one ejection. Goals from Pioneer came from Sean Lee (3), Joe Krushelnick, Dominick DeVarti, and Henri Schneehagen. Pioneer goalie Ben Antonellis had seven saves and two steals.
Pioneer concluded the Early Bird Invitational with a 6-4 loss to Thomas Worhtington (OH.) in the fifth-place game. Pioneer goals were scored by Diego Sanchez-Burks (3) and Sean Lee.
Ben Antonellis had seven saves and two steals in net for the Pioneers.
“It was a good start for the team,” said Pioneer coach Will Hart. “We have had just a few practices to start the process of coming together and playing as a team. I saw a lot of positive things and some we will focus on to improve. We focus on small daily improvement to make a difference at the end of the season. This team has the right attitude and mindset to accomplish great things by the end of the season. This is going to be a fun year.”
Pioneer plays at Okemos at 7 p.m. on Tuesday, Aug. 22.