Spartans step up to the plate

first_imgTo most area water polo teams, September represents a time when schools try to find an identity or tune up for league. However, coach Larry Naeve and his La Canada High School Spartans are approaching this month with a different philosophy. AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREThe top 10 theme park moments of 2019 Add Wednesday’s match against Harvard-Westlake (ranked No. 5 in Division I) between two premier tournaments (Menlo and South Coast) and another difficult tournament (Villa Park) on Sept. 29, and the Spartans will be tested this month. Responsibility will ultimately fall upon Naeve to have his team ready to compete. But the coach doesn’t seem fazed by the competition. “We will be starting a team of three seniors, two juniors and two sophomores – all of whom have been selected at least to attend the U.S. National team final tryouts for their age group,” Naeve said. “Two have made the U.S. National team for their age groups. (The team) is ready.” – Pasadena Poly entered the 2005 season with plenty of questions and few answers. Having lost senior scorers Abe Kaslow and Sandy Gilfillan to graduation, there was much concern about the Panthers’ ability to score. “Both of these guys were utility players,” coach Ryan Katsuyama said. “So they could play two-meter offense, two-meter defense and were valuable drivers from the perimeter.” But after five games, Katsuyama is pleased with his team’s performance. While a 3-2 record and a 13th-place finish in the recent Ayala Tournament are performances to build upon, Katsuyama has been more excited about another development — the improvement shown by senior Filip Svitek. The two-meter specialist has more than made up for the offensive departures by scoring 29 goals in five games. That number could have been higher if the coach had not held him back. “He had some early exits from games to rest or because the score was well in our favor,” Katsuyama said. The Panthers only hope Svitek can keep performing. – South Pasadena was supposed to have problems early on. The Tigers, with new coach Robert Echeverria, were expected to struggle to stay above .500. But South Pasadena has responded and dominated opponents early on. The Tigers, coming off a 14-11 victory over Hoover on Tuesday, are 6-0. “We are looking to come out strong this season,” Echeverria said. “Our goal is to challenge in league and outside of league. We want to possibly get to the second or third round of CIF.” 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!center_img “This year we added … standouts,” Naeve said. “It is clear that (we) will play the best high school water polo teams in the country.” The Spartans’ brutal nonleague schedule began Tuesday with a rematch of last year’s CIF-Southern Section Division III semifinal against Montebello, a match the Spartans lost 13-9. last_img