Loyola and Harvard-Westlake have been bitter league rivals for decades. The two schools more often than not finish atop the Mission League standings in every sport, making each Cubs-Wolverines matchup all the more critical. The last league title for the boys’ water polo team came in 2007 and Loyola has brought home all four titles since.
This year, the lone matchup between the schools will take on a whole new feel on Oct. 17, as Time Warner Cable will broadcast the bout as part of its Game of the Week segment for Southern California high school sports.
Players said the much-anticipated game will be crucial to the Wolverines’ standing, as they only play four league games a season and would need to beat Loyola to win their first league championship in five years.
“That’s the game we have been preparing for the past couple weeks,” Andrew Miller ’13 said. “We are just looking forward to Oct. 17. That’s the date that is in everyone’s mind right now.”
The Cubs are ranked second in the CIF Division I coaches poll, behind Mater Dei, a team the Wolverines have lost twice to this season.
“[The broadcast is] a great opportunity for the program to gain a lot of exposure with the local community,” Head Coach Brian Flacks ’06 said. “It should be a great game like it was last year, and if we can do the small things right, I think we have a great shot.”
The Wolverines lost 12-9 in their only matchup against Loyola last year. The boys’ ranking in the CIF polls depends on the outcome of the Loyola game, along with other upcoming matchups against Long Beach Wilson and Agoura.
“This is one of our biggest games this year,” Warren Snyder ’14 said. “Everybody really wants to win Mission League and we are going to need to beat Loyola for that.”
The team has only four seniors, relying on young players such as Anthony Ridgley ’15, who was named Most Outstanding Goalkeeper at America’s Finest Tournament last month, and Snyder, who received All-Tournament honors.
The Wolverines finished ninth in the S&R Tournament in Irvine this past weekend, playing Miramonte, Clovis West, Davis and Bellarmine Prep.
The boys had an early lead against Miramonte but fell 11-8. The team was then placed in the bottom half of the bracket but won its next three games, bringing its overall record to 14-6 on the season.
They play Long Beach Wilson this Friday before taking on Loyola the following Wednesday in the televised matchup.
“We want to win [the Loyola] game so badly,” Johnny Hooper ’15 said. “They have won Mission League, they have taken away that championship from us for years and it is our time to take it from them.”