By Lucy Jackson
Wolverine water polo players faced off against the Iran Junior National team last Wednesday in two scrimmages at Zanuck Swim Stadium. The team, though made up entirely of Harvard-Westlake players, was technically part of the Los Angeles Water Polo club, of which Head Coach Larry Felix estimates about half of the schoolsâ players are members.
âThereâs a direct correlation between the strength of our program and the amount of players doing club,â Felix said.
He considers club participation to be an integral part of a playerâs preparation for the season, and though is not mandatory, Felix strongly encourages it.
âIf you donât play club, the bus is going to pass you by,â he said. âItâs the kidâs choice, but if youâre passionate and you have the will to succeed, youâre going to do it.âÂ
Felix believes that the added playing time club games provide only build playersâ abilities.
âGoing up against the Iran team was a way to break the communication barrier and gain experience at the same time,â starting driver Billy Evashwick â08 said.
âThey had just finished the Junior Worlds Tournament, so they were coming off of games against some great competition.â
After the game, the teams ate lunch together and conversed, some even exchanging Speedos and shirts.
âOne of our players actually got a really cool Argentinean suit,â Evashwick said. âLarry [Felix] even joked about adopting the design for new uniforms.â
Despite constant summer training and games, such as the one against Iran, the team will nonetheless play a tough schedule, including what is the biggest game of the season against rival Loyola in Oct.
âLoyola is coming out fired up,â Evashwick said. âThey didnât lose that many seniors, and itâs an intense rivalry that always has a lot on the line.â
Both Felix and Evashwick agree that in order to do well this season, the team will have to play as just thatâa team.
âThere are no real superstars on this team, but that means that everybody has to contribute,â Felix said. âYou donât want to have the best seat in the house just to be a spectator.â
Though last year saw the departure of four key starters, including last yearâs captain and All-CIF Southern Section goalkeeper Brian Pingree, Felix is not worried.
âA lot of schools put all their eggs in one basket. They count on one team doing well,â Felix said. âWe play a lot of younger guys, we give them experience because they become our leaders.â
The team will play their first regular season game on Sept. 9, and Felix expects winning results from the beginning.
âWeâve set the bar high,â Felix said. âWinning league isnât taken for granted, but we expect it.â