Boys’ water polo enters fresh off State tournament victory

Mila Barzdukas

After upsetting three-time defending CIF Champion Mater Dei this summer, the boys’ water polo team enters its season with a target on its back. The team beat several of southern California’s top teams this summer to win the State High School Championship Tournament.

“I think that this year is exciting,” Head Coach Brian Flacks ’05 said. “This will be the highest we’ve been ranked in CIF preseason. And I think we gained a lot of experience from last season, but I don’t think we’ve quite proven ourselves yet.”

After losing to Mater Dei 15-6 in the CIF quarterfinals last year, the Wolverines have bounced back with a 9-7 win July 21. The team will begin this season with its entire starting lineup returning from last year.

All-CIF center defender Warren Snyder ’14 is expected to make an impact as the only starting senior.

“Snyder has grown incredibly over the last three years,” Flacks said. “His sophomore year he didn’t play a single minute in the quarterfinal game and last year he won All-American and is one of our main scorers.”

In addition, the team returns U16 Cadet National Team members Davis Wachtell ’16, Duncan Froomer ’16 and Anthony Ridgley ’16. Johnny Hooper ’15 and Morio Saito ’15 were U18 Youth National Team selects.

Young lineups continue to be a theme of the program, with only two seniors on the roster. Froomer believes it works in the team’s favor.

“Being a relatively young team does help us because other older teams come into our games overconfident,” Froomer said.

The team’s summer play culminated in a first place finish in the Championship Tournament, which included wins over Mira Costa and San Diego’s Cathedral Catholic along with a win against Mater Dei.

“Cathedral is probably one of the top three teams in the nation,” Ben Hallock ‘16 said. “Warren scored the winning goal with four seconds left.”

The season includes non-league matchups against Division 1 team Long Beach Wilson and Division 2 Murrieta Valley. A rematch against Mater Dei is scheduled for Oct. 15.

“I think Mater Dei is going to want to rip our heads off,” Hallock said. “They want revenge since we got them last time, and they’ve won 79 games in a row for Southern Section, so they’ll be out for blood.”