With a 19-day layoff since its last game, starting attackman Paul Rodriguez ’18 still absent due to a leg injury, starting goalie Troy Hattler ’17 unavailable due to illness, and even Head Coach Alex Weber not present for the varsity lacrosse team, Tuesday night’s Mission League rematch against Chaminade seemed to have potential to be a trap game for the Wolverine squad.
Thanks to Phillip Thompson ’16 and Roman Holthouse ’15, Harvard-Westlake had nothing to worry about.
Thompson set the all-time Harvard-Westlake varsity single-game scoring record with ten goals, Holthouse nearly matched him with seven goals of his own, and the Wolverines throttled the Eagles (7-6 overall, 1-4 in Mission League) by a score of 26-6 to get back above .500 in Mission League play.
“I thought it was a really good team effort. Everyone played really hard and got open, and occupied their man, which opened things up for me to get to the cage and score,” Thompson said of his historic night. “It was a product of a great week of practice. Everyone was working hard, and it was great to get a win.”
Chaminade, ranked 11th in the most recent MaxLaxLA coaches’ poll, opened things up by scoring on the game’s first possession, but it was all Harvard-Westlake (ranked seventh) from there. Thompson and Holthouse each had hat tricks in the first quarter alone, as Thompson’s work on face-offs enabled Harvard-Westlake to completely dominate the game’s time of possession. Thompson ended the first quarter with five goals as the Wolverines took a 9-1 lead after 12 minutes, setting the tone for the squad’s record-setting night.
The fun wasn’t even close to over for the Wolverines at that point. After trailing by two goals in the fourth quarter of the teams’ first matchup (a 10-8 Harvard-Westlake win in March), the Wolverines made sure to put the Eagles away early on Tuesday night, and more fine offensive execution in the second period sealed the deal. Overall, six different players scored in the second period for the Wolverines, as the squad went on a ridiculous 16-0 run spanning the first and second quarters before Chaminade’s Cam Yerzyk ’15 stopped the bleeding with a pair of late goals. Still, the Wolverines took an 18-4 lead into halftime, ensuring that their top-three spot in the Mission League would be safe.
“We’ve been working for a long time and it’s all starting to gel, so we’re getting near our potential,” said interim coach Peter Swander. “We’re seeing massive improvements in almost every area.”
With the game out of reach for most of the second half, the only questions yet to be determined were which records would be broken. Even as the game got into “running clock” mode due to Harvard-Westlake’s gaudy lead, the legendary stats continued to pile up for the Wolverines. After Aaron Drooks ’15 became the fifth Wolverine to score multiple goals on the night (joining Thompson, Holthouse, Joe Woody ’15, and Andrew Corlin ’15), Holthouse scored his seventh of the night in the third quarter, as both he and Thompson looked to be within reach of Will Oliver’s ’11 school record of nine goals.
Ultimately, Thompson emerged victorious in the friendly matchup. With two goals late in the third quarter and another one in the first minute of the fourth, the Princeton University commit reached double digits before being removed from the game, setting one of several Harvard-Westlake records in the process. The Wolverines’ team output of 26 goals was their most in one game since LaxPower began recording statistics in 2005, and their margin of victory of 20 goals was also the school’s largest in the same timespan.
“It was obviously a good game for us, but definitely not against the best team, so it’s not something to get overwhelmingly hyped about,” said Holthouse, the reigning co-Mission League Player of the Year. “We just have to stay focused in practice, because we have some big games coming up.” The team is now 2-0 since Holthouse’s three-game absence in March, with the wins impressively coming against the sixth (Thousand Oaks) and eleventh ranked teams in the city by the coaches’ poll. Holthouse has scored a combined 11 goals in the two games.
Overall, the Wolverines improved to 7-4 and 3-2 in league play, securing key playoff position with the win. Since Chaminade can mathematically no longer finish above .500 in league play, Harvard-Westlake can clinch a top-three spot in the league — and an automatic playoff berth — with a win in its next league game at St. Francis.
Before that matchup, however, the Wolverines will next be in action on Friday night at St. Margaret’s (14-2 overall, independent). The Tartans are the third ranked team in the entire CIF Southern Section by LaxPower’s computer rankings, while the Wolverines are ranked 14th in the same metric. In their most recent matchup, the Harvard-Westlake defeated St. Margaret’s by a score of 10-9 in 2014, but the Tartans won their last playoff matchup with a 2013 Southern Section title game 15-8 victory over the Wolverines.
“We just have to keep practicing hard and keep focusing,” defender Andrew Park ’15 said. “Bring it every single day.”
For those who couldn’t make it to Tuesday’s game, it can be seen again via HWTV at the following link: