By Peter Skrumbis
At the beginning of the year, varsity boysâ water polo Head Coach Larry Felix was worried about filling the gap left by the departed seniors.
âYou donât try to replace them, you just teach and set kids up for success and use their strengths in the game situations,â Felix said.
Throughout the season, several juniors and sophomores have contributed.
After a successful season and a record of 22-4, Felix isnât worried about the youth of this team.
âThe seniors have all been to a CIF final, the juniors went to the semi-final last year against CDM,â Felix said. âYouth is no excuse if they canât get themselves ready to play for a semi-final or even a first round game, thatâs on them. They have got to be the ones ready to play. Most of these kids are battle tested they know what they need to do.â
âWe all believe thereâs no reason we canât get a championship,â Jeff Schwimer â07 said. âItâs four games and if you lose one youâre out. Thereâs no room for mistakes. It doesnât matter who we play. It depends mostly on how we play.â
Â âOur ultimate goal is to win it, but there are a lot of good teams in Division I, so weâll just have to play our best and hopefully we will move on,â Brian Pingree â07 said.
Schwimer and Pingree have been two of the biggest offensive and defensive leaders for the team this year, Felix said.
Schwimer has been a âkey partâ of the offense and has been able to score almost four goals per game, Felix said.
âYeah, Jeff [Schwimer] and I try to be the leaders on the team,â Pingreee said. âI just try and set a good example for the team, work hard every day.â
âIf those guys are having a good go, then everyone follows,â Felix said. If they say âItâs time to trainâ and someone is mucking around, the kids get in line because they know how much it means to them. Iâm lucky I have those two guys who take it extra seriously. But all the seniors are serious. And itâs a trickle down effect so hopefully it keeps carrying over on tradition.â
During the regular season, the Wolverines went undefeated in league for the ninth consecutive year.
âThere are times when I think having games where we know we can win and work on stuff are good, and then there are times when I wish our league was a little more difficult,â Felix said. âWe are where we are as far as league and I donât want to change it. It prepares us. Playing Foothill and Wilson and CDM really prepares us outside of league helps.â
The team believes they have the ability keep playing well into CIF.
âWeâre usually one of the smartest teams out there,â Pingree said. âWe have good game awareness, I would say, andÂ we just play well as a team defensively, we just work hard and try to take away opponentâs strengths.â
The team plays their first CIF match Thursday against Woodbridge at Harvard-Westlake.
If the Wolverines win, they will playÂ either Esperanza or Laguna Hills in the quarterfinals at home next Tuesday.