Wolverines to face Corona del Mar in Semifinals

Mila Barzdukas

The Wolverines turn their attention to Corona del Mar today, which beat Long Beach Wilson 10-9 in the Quarterfinals. Harvard-Westlake squared off against Corona del Mar earlier this season, beating them 22-7 in the S&R Tournament Finals.

“They’re well coached,” Head Coach Brian Flacks ’06 said. “They play with a ton of energy and enthusiasm. It’s a great opportunity for us to get some quality experience.”

The CIF Semifinal match will be played at William Woollett Aquatic Center in Irvine tonight at 7 p.m.

While the pool is considered to be a neutral site for both teams, neutral is all relative Flacks said.

Corona del Mar is located about nine miles from the site, while Harvard-Westlake is more than 50 miles away, so the Sea Kings are expected to have more fans at the game.

Flacks said the squad is looking at the match as a road game instead of a neutral game.

“A lot of teams are based in Orange County, near where the site is,” Flacks said. “Obviously it’s not done like that on purpose, it’s just played there for the site itself. There are two 50-meter pools side by side. Hopefully we do a great job preparing these next two days in practice and we have a great showing.”

A playoff mentality has paid off for the Wolverines so far this season, contributing to its 27-0 record and large point differentials in games. Just more than halfway through their playoff run, they walked away from a first-round win against wild card bid Irvine 23-2 Nov. 12 and a quarterfinal win against eighth ranked Orange Lutheran 22-8 Nov. 15.

“They have some young good players,” attacker Johnny Hooper ’15 said of the Orange Lutheran Lancers before the match. “Brian was saying they are us two years ago. They’ve gotten a couple good players, some young kids that are really talented.”

The match was the first time the Wolverines played Orange Lutheran this season.

“We won’t have a problem with OLu if we just stick with the game plan and stay in our system,” Hooper said. “We’re not taking them lightly.”

Indeed, the Wolverines did not take the Lancers lightly. Despite a lot of physical roughhousing from the Lancers, the Wolverines jumped out to a quick 6-1 lead after the first quarter. A big key for the Wolverines was their ability to take advantage of their free shots on goal after getting fouled. By the end of the half, the score was 14-2.

A rooter bus was provided for fans of the Lancers, but despite playing in front of many supporters, they were unable to combat the Wolverines.

Throughout the game, the Lancers showed flashes of brilliance with strong offense and good goalkeeping. However, they were unable to play as consistently as the Wolverines. Both squads were playing their benches by the fourth quarter.

The other side of the bracket contains two familiar foes for the Wolverines: sixth-ranked Huntington Beach and second-ranked Mater Dei. The winner of that game, which will be played before the Harvard-Westlake vs. Corona del Mar game, could meet the Wolverines in the finals. However, the Wolverines are taking their season one game at a time and not focusing on potential upcoming competition.

“We don’t even talk about the championship game,” Flacks said. “We’re only thinking about [tonight].”