By Robbie Loeb
With two seconds remaining, Josh Hearlihy ’12 approached the free throw line for the chance to to keep his team alive and avoid suffering the first series sweep in eight years. He needed two of three free throws to trim the deficit to one possession against rival Loyola.
He sank the first. The second shot popped off back iron above the height of the backboard and miraculously fell through, and the Fanatics let out a sigh of relief. The Wolverines were unable to pull through, however, and walked off the court, eyes glued to the floor as they fell for the second time this season at the hands of Loyola.
Only hours before, upon hearing the blast of the final whistle, midfielder Alex Goodwin ’12 sank to his knees in despair. The game that had seemed so close ended in a single-goal defeat for the boys’ soccer team, also the second of the season.
“We all really wanted to beat them, and we had it in our hands,” Goodwin said. “It was probably the most frustrating loss of the season.”
Loyola had not swept in basketball in eight years, and the Wolverines have swept twice, in 2004-2005 and 2009-2010.
“It is one of the greatest high school rivalries in Southern California,” boys’ basketball Head Coach Greg Hilliard said. “We will have ups and downs on both sides, but that game will always be a battle.”
In recent years, the basketball teams have split the series with varying success in the postseason, but they could still say, “at least we beat Loyola.” The soccer team, however, has not triumphed over Loyola in three years.
“I don’t believe winning or losing to Loyola should determine the success of our team,” boys’ soccer Head Coach Freddy Arroyo said.
The difference between previous sweeps and this year’s is that the teams are more evenly matched this year, he said.
The rivalry began as the two schools continually competed for dominance in the Mission League and grew expansively with fans of both schools fueling the fire.
“Loyola fans are probably the closest to the Fanatics when it comes to cheers laden with clever innuendo, inspired lunacy and pointed jabs,” Head of Athletics Audrius Barzdukas said. “The Cubs seem to bring out the best in our boys.”