Water polo streaks through league after struggles at beginning of year

With six seconds left and a one goal lead, boys’ varsity water polo coach Larry Felix called a timeout. Just minutes earlier, the Wolverines led by three goals, the largest lead of the game and were on their way to beating Loyola en route to a 11th straight league title. After two quick Loyola scores, Felix wanted to be sure this one didn’t get away.
“We were up by two, and with 18 seconds left they scored,” Felix said. “In our sport, you can put the ball where you want after a timeout, and I gave it to my goalie to wind down the clock.”

With the crowd counting down the seconds, the Wolverines held the ball to keep their lead, and as the buzzer sounded, goalie Max Lubin ’08 screamed as he threw up the ball and thrust both forefingers into the air, indicating the team’s number one finish in league.

“The win was satisfying because we knew that we were capable of it,” Lubin said. “It’s huge—beating Loyola is part of the Harvard-Westlake water polo tradition.”

The victory over Loyola and another Mission League title solidified what started out as a shaky season for the Wolverines. The team entered league play in October with a 3-6 record, after losing several close games, five of which were decided by one goal.

“Beating Loyola and winning league proved our ability to overcome a rough, slow start,” Billy Evashwick ’08 said. “We assessed our initial problems from the start of this season, and we worked hard to learn from them and improve. We want to continue to dominate league, so beating Loyola is a must.”

The Wolverines went undefeated through league but hit a rough spot when Mater Dei broke their win streak last Friday.

“It was a bump in the road,” Evashwick said. “It’s a step back after a big Loyola win, but I think it refocused us for playoffs.”

The team will face Long Beach Poly tomorrow afternoon, when CIF playoffs start. Although the Wolverines are expected to beat their lower ranked opponent, Felix isn’t leaving anything to chance.

“These are the games I worry about,” he said. “If we play our game, we’ll win, but in first round games there are a lot of blowouts, and sometimes that affects the kids.”