A stoppage in play revealed that Deep Purple's "Smoke on the Water" still rocks.
And still plays at Libertyville's pool.
"They play it between stops," Wildcats four-year varsity water polo goalie Andrew Fink said. "We have all kinds of music lists. They just play random songs."
Few songs seem more suited for teams that compete in a pool. Libertyville provided its own smoke on the water in its season opener Tuesday night, as an "on-fire" performance resulted in a 13-3 win over Deerfield.
"It was awesome," Wildcats first-year coach Ethan Matthews said. "Andrew Fink did some great work in goal, everyone played strong defense, and we got everyone a chance to get some experience and playing time."
Jakob Lex, Libertyville's 6-foot-4 hole set, led the way with 4 goals. Fellow senior Michael Watson completed a three-goal night with the Wildcats' lone tally of the fourth quarter.
Libertyville lost only four regulars off last season's team.
"I think we can go really far," Watson said. "Last year we didn't have a team that worked together. But just from coming in every morning, I can tell this year is a lot different. We all want to be here. It's a brotherhood already."
Watson set up William Becker for Libertyville's first goal, and the hosts were up 4-1 after one quarter. Lex scored a pair of goals in the second quarter, and Watson, Scott Villiard and Peter Misko also fired in shots to increase the Wildcats' advantage to 9-1 by halftime.
"It was great," Lex said. "It was just good to get off to a good start and do what we've been doing (in practice). It was good to get everyone involved and get a little taste of the water."
Sophomore Benjamin Sutter also scored for the Wildcats, who were impressive in Matthews' debut as a high school coach. Matthews played four years at Bradley-Bourbonnais and then at Illinois State University before later becoming the coach for ISU's club team.
"Being here, in this atmosphere, is awesome," Matthews said. "It boggles my mind that I still have 40 guys show up to morning practice. I was expecting maybe 10."
Matthews is indeed off to a good start. He turned 26 on Saturday -- and it was he who provided presents.
"I had 35 guys show up on a Saturday morning, just because I promised them doughnuts," Matthews said with a laugh. "I got a great team. I got a great group of seniors who are here to help teach and lead. And I got a lot of young guys coming in who are just excited to be here. It's the best situation anyone could walk into, especially for a first head-coaching job. It's like getting the keys to the Ferrari."