Water polo earns wild card spot for CIF

Patrick Ryan

After leading for the majority of the game against their main Mission League rival Loyola, the boys’ water polo team was tied 11-11. With three seconds left on the clock, Loyola’s Chancellor Ramirez rose out of the water and fired a goal with no time remaining the to beat the Wolverines by a score of 12-11.

The team played Beckman in the CIF Division I wild-card game yesterday and the winner will travel to play seventh ranked El Toro today in the first round of playoffs. Results were not available as of press time, but can be found on the Chronicle website.

The loss to Loyola came just one game after losing to third ranked Long Beach Wilson in overtime 13-10.

“It shows that we can definitely hang with any team,” Center guard Warren Snyder ’14 said. “It helps us feel like we definitely have a shot against any team, we are going to play a tough first round game, but with all the support and everything it really helps us feel like we can take on anybody.”

The team will have to play top-ranked Mater Dei in the second round of CIF should they win their opening matchup and will be seeded in the eight to 12 range, Head Coach Brian Flacks ’06 said.

“For a young squad, I’ve been really impressed with the resilience,” Flacks said. “Obviously two tough losses against Long Beach and Loyola, but coming back to beat what I think is a top 10 team in the country with Cathedral after we lost to them twice this year was very impressive.”

Following those two losses, the Wolverines have surged to win four of five matches and improve their record to 18-9 on the season and 3-1 in league play heading into the postseason. They defeated Murrieta Valley at Homecoming by a score of 14-11.

“Division I is wide open from basically the two seed on, other than Mater Dei, who is undefeated on the year, every top 12 team has beaten each other,” Flacks said.

The team has played Mater Dei twice this season, losing 14-9 and 14-5 in the two matchups.

“We have matured a lot over the season, our team is very young, we have mostly sophomores and freshman and they are inexperienced at the high school level,” Snyder said. “But with the playing of more intense games they are really starting to step it up and they are growing.”

In the last game of the regular season last Saturday, the Wolverines lost to Aguora 10-9.

“I’m super-confident, we’ve had a lot of close losses to really good teams,” Two-meter forward Ben Hallock ’16 said. “I think we are getting to that point of the year where our team is really coming together and actually winning those games, not losing by one in the last seconds or overtime.”

In the playoffs, against bigger teams, the team will not be able to rely on using the speed of drivers Saito and Johnny Hooper ’15 in the counterattack as much. As a result, the team will look to get the ball to Hallock in front of the goal to set up opportunities.

“We just wanted to rebound and finish the season well going into CIF,” Hallock said. “It was good for our team to know that we can do that, and for other teams it’s always scary that this team has been beating a lot of good teams.”