Water polo heads into CIF, finishes 2nd in league to rival Loyola

The water polo team will go into its first game of CIF playoffs this week with a record of 17-10. The team has a league record of 7-2, losing only two league games, both to Loyola.

The boys won their last league game last Thursday against Alemany, and will play their first round CIF game today against Dos Pueblos. Dos Pueblos came second in the Channel League losing only once to Santa Barbara.

“I feel confident that even though we may have lost a few important and challenging hands this season that we will be able to pull together for the first sound game and advance,” Russell Madison ’10 said.

Harvard-Westlake lost its first league game in 11 years to Loyola at home on Oct. 16, scoring 11 points to Loyola’s 13 points. The score was close the entire game, and after numberous penalties and a yellow card for shouting at the referees for Loyola’s coach, Erik Healy, Loyola pulled away in the fourth quarter to win by a margin of two points.

Alex Popof ’10 had a standout game with four points, but the other points were spread out among five other players. The team also played in a tournament in San Jose and placed seventh, losing to both Miramonte and Sacred Heart by one point.

Coach Larry Felix said the team has a “rough road ahead” going into CIF.

“We have been working really hard in practice to improve on all the little details and fundamentals which will make the difference in the playoffs,” James McNamara ’10 said.

The team is in Division I for CIF and last year got to the quarterfinals, where they lost to Northwood by only two points. Loyola will play their first round game against Ventura High School, and the only chance for a re-match with the Wolverines would be in the CIF finals.

If they advance to the next round, a possible opponent could be El Toro, and the game would be next week.