In Southern California, where there are many sports played and so much talent, there’s always that rare opportunity to watch an event that you can look back on when the athletes are in college or the Olympics and say, “I was there.”
One such event is Tuesday night’s boys’ water polo showdown between Studio City Harvard-Westlake (13-1) and Santa Ana Mater Dei (13-0) at 6 o’clock at Mater Dei.
Mater Dei is ranked No. 1 in Southern Section Division 1, has a 92-game winning streak and has won three consecutive Division 1 titles. Harvard-Westlake is ranked No. 2 and is loaded with top young players trying to end the Monarchs’ domination. The Wolverines’ only loss this season was 9-6 to Mater Dei in a tournament game on Sept. 21.
There will be so many future college athletes and possible Olympians in the pool that somebody had better take a photo or two.
First task for Harvard-Westlake is trying to get the ball in the net past 6-foot-9 goalie McQuin Baron, a USC commit. Then there’s trying to stop James Walters, another USC commit.
Of course, Harvard-Westlake offers its own challenge. Sophomore Ben Hallock is considered one of the best in the nation for his age group. Junior Johnny Hooper can score with anybody.
Each school has a magnificent aquatics facility. Each school has a top coach. Mater Dei’s Chris Segesman, a former Long Beach State player, and Harvard-Westlake’s Brian Flacks, a former UCLA player, know their water polo. Players have been competing against each other for years in youth and national competitions.
It’s a rivalry that’s beginning to blossom, but it can’t really become a rivalry until Harvard-Westlake actually wins a game.
That day could be coming soon.