Wolverines trump Crespi 20-3, aim to avenge sole loss to Mater Dei

Mila Barzdukas

Coming off a dominating performance at Homecoming, a 1-0 start in league, and a tournament win at the S&R Sport Water Polo Invite, the varsity squad has solidified itself as a top team. Despite these wins, the squad is stuck being ranked second by CIF Southern Section Division I. That all could change today, when the Wolverines face their old foe Mater Dei in a battle to be the best team in Southern California.

The team’s record is 13-1. Their blemish on an otherwise perfect season came from a 9-6 loss to Mater Dei in the Santa Barbara Tournament finals Sept. 21. The Wolverines are seeking redemption for their previous loss.

The Monarchs reign as number one in CIF, but center Raphael Raede ’15 says the team is working hard to capitalize on Mater Dei’s weaknesses.

“When we played against Mater Dei last time we didn’t score in any of our 6 on 5 plays and so right now we are working on power plays,” Raede said. “They also like to come into really far drops and block shots, leaving shooters on the outside open. We’re working on overcoming that because we had a lot of trouble scoring against their defense last game.”

The squad took care of business at the S&R tournament last Friday and Saturday by winning four games in a row to secure the tournament title. Wins over Clovis West,  Los Alamitos, and Long Beach Wilson earned them a spot in the finals against Sacred Heart. The Wolverines trounced Sacred Heart 15-7 in the finals, led by Johnny Hooper’s ’15 dominant offensive performance. Hooper scored six goals, Warren Snyder ’14 scored four, and Morio Saito ’15 and Ben Hallock ’16 scored two apiece. They beat every team they played by at least five goals.

“It was a very big win for us and we should be proud to bring home the tournament victory,” Morio Saito ’15 said. “One of the things we can take away from this tournament is that our group has the ability to make that CIF championship game. This tournament is one of the factors that should motivate our group to come out, train the hardest we’ve ever trained and come back and play even better for CIF.”

This is the first season the squad has won the S&R Invitational.

Homecoming proved to be another opportunity for the Wolverines to showcase their talent and prove they could play at the highest level, but they only scraped by Long Beach Wilson 11-8.

“The win on Homecoming was not as dominant as it should have been,” left-handed attacker Duncan Froomer ’16 said. “Saying that, we came out with a win due to Anthony [Ridgley ’15] coming up with some huge saves and our team executing on offense in key moments.”

League play has not posed a challenge to the team’s season record so far. The Wolverines rolled Crespi 20-3 in their league opener Oct. 9. Their next league matchup is against Loyola Oct. 23.

The Wolverines hope to keep the same mindset for all of their league games.

“We just have to dominate league and move on to playoffs,” Raede ’15 said. “We have to face all these teams the same way. We need to start and finish against every team the same way: strong.”