The boys varsity water polo team defeated Williston Northampton 11-6 on Saturday, November 2, to finish the season with an impressive 16-4 record and earn the No. 2 seed in the New England Prep School Athletic Association Liquid Four, the championship tournament for boys water polo.
After honoring both team’s seniors for their commitment and leadership, the players and parents saluted Loomis coach Fred Seebeck, who will be retiring in the spring of 2020 after 35 years of outstanding teaching, mentoring, coaching, and friendship.
Loomis jumped out to an early 2-1 lead after some back-and-forth play, with both goals scored by senior Mac Pahl, but the story of the first quarter was senior goalie Gus Hawley and the “down a man” defense that was able to survive three Williston power plays and keep the Pelican lead.
Junior Matt Ryckman extended the Loomis lead with two goals in the opening minutes of the second quarter, but Williston responded with yet another power play opportunity. Thankfully, Hawley and the defense held fast throughout the period, and Ryckman notched his third goal in the closing 30 seconds to give Loomis a 5-1 advantage heading into the second half.
Williston opened the scoring in the second half to narrow the margin to 5-2, but the Pelicans answered with goals by junior Qais Hijazi and Ryckman to make the score 7-2.
Loomis survived two more Wildcat power plays and a penalty shot that could have tightened the game considerably, and then Pahl tossed in his third goal of the game, putting the game out of reach for Williston.
Hawley finished the game with 14 saves. In addition to Pahl’s, Ryckman’s, and Hijazi’s points, Loomis got goals from seniors Kai Sheng Tham (2) and Matt Rubino (1).
Up next, Loomis will face No. 3-seeded Exeter in the Liquid Four semifinal at Brunswick School on Saturday, November 9, at 4 p.m., a rematch of one of the most entertaining water polo matches of this season in New England, where Loomis just edged Exeter 13-12 with a blocked shot in the final second of the game.