By STEVE GALLUZZO | Sports Editor
A battle of titans took place last Wednesday in Westlake, where Loyola High took on Palos Verdes for the Los Angeles County boys lacrosse championship.
Loyola looked like it might cruise to an easy win after scoring three quick goals, but the Sea Kings answered with three straight of their own. Palos Verdes took a 6-5 lead with 4:51 left in the third quarter but from then on the Cubs put on a lacrosse clinic, closing the contest with seven unanswered goals to avenge an early season defeat and capture their fourth straight L.A. crown.
Anchoring Loyola’s defense were Palisadian long stick middies Preston Barnes and Jack Wynperle, who helped the Cubs beat Harvard-Westlake for the Mission League title two weeks earlier.
Barnes’ tenaciousness was on display midway through the fourth quarter when he knocked the ball loose, scooped it up, sprinted the length of the field and assisted on the game-clinching goal. When it was his turn, Wynperle kept the opposing attackers in check.
“We played smarter this time, kept the ball moving and didn’t settle for just any shot—we went for quality over quantity,” said Barnes, a sophomore and one of six Cubs named to the All-League First Team this spring. “This is the reason I came to Loyola, to be part of this amazing program. I tried every sport but I love everything about lacrosse—the physicality, aggressiveness, speed. And with Jack and I we’ll have a dynamic duo going for our careers.”
Wynperle played linebacker and backup quarterback on the freshman football team in the fall and hopes to be JV quarterback next season but right now it’s all about the stick: “It’s great playing the same position as Preston. I’m learning a lot by watching him.”