Boys’ water polo overcomes Mater Dei to win CIF Title

Grant Nussbaum

When head coach Brian Flacks ’06 and the boys’ varsity water polo team entered William Woollett Aquatic Center Saturday afternoon, they marched onto a battlefield where familiar foe Mater Dei waited at the opposite end, as a seat atop the world of high school water polo hung in the balance. The Monarchs had been the only team able to defeat the Wolverines in 2013, handing Harvard-Westlake its only three losses on the season.

But pushing forward with the rocketed goals of Warren Snyder ’14, Johnny Hooper ’15, Raphael Raede ’15 and Ben Hallock ’16, and shielded by the fierce parries of Anthony Ridgely ’15, the Wolverines won both the battle and the war Saturday, defeating Mater Dei 9-6 to claim the CIF Southern Section Division I Championship plaque.

Harvard-Westlake took the lead off the first whistle, as Snyder quickly scored on the Wolverines’ opening possession. Despite the Monarchs’ attempts to gain the lead, cutting the Wolverine advantage to one on several occasions, the Wolverines held on to the lead until the final whistle.

Snyder led the way for the Wolverines with four goals, while Raede and Hallock scored two apiece, and Hooper scored one. Ridgely and the Wolverine defense denied Mater Dei shots throughout the matchup, holding the Monarchs to their lowest point total between all four of the rivals’ matchups this season.

The water polo team’s championship victory adds a euphoric ending to a historic season, where the Wolverines went 25-3 overall and 6-0 in league, clinching their first Mission League title in 5 years.