As impressive as Sandburg’s boys’ water polo team was last week — it opened the 2014 season with three victories and scored a total of 45 goals in those matches — Eagles coach Jim Caliendo was most satisfied with his squad’s defensive effort.
Sandburg started with a 10-4 victory over Lincoln-Way North in a SouthWest Suburban Conference crossover match and then crushed Bremen co-op 18-2 and Hinsdale South 17-4 in nonconference encounters on Tuesday and Thursday, respectively.
“I’ve definitely seen what I expected on offense because of the kids that I’ve seen who have been leading the way in practice,” Caliendo said. “What I’m really pleased with is our defense.
“Our team defense has really done well against the teams we’ve played thus far. That was a little unexpected and, therefore, a nice surprise.”
Against Lincoln-Way North, Zach Roper paced the Eagles with seven goals. His five goals propelled them past Bremen, and then Roper (six goals) and Mitch Zieler (five) led the charge for Sandburg in its romp over Hinsdale. Sean McNicholas registered 11 saves in the latter match.
“Zach Roper and Mitch Zieler have definitely led the offense,” Caliendo said. “[And] I’m very proud of Sean McNicholas so far in goal.”
Roper and Zieler have also contributed on the defensive end for the Eagles. So, too, have other members of the starting lineup, a unit that includes Majd Ibrahim, Ben Crnich, Mitch Winkelman and Mike Hinde.
“I believe that this group can jell into a pretty good unit down the road,” Caliendo said. “The fact that they’ve done better than I expected is a good indication that they can build on what they’ve already demonstrated. We have a long way to go, but I think we’re going to get a lot better.”
And getting better will be the key to success in a very competitive SWSC Blue, where Sandburg will bump up against teams such as Stagg, Homewood-Flossmoor and Lockport.
“We have a very tough conference this year,” Caliendo said. “It’s loaded with good water polo teams.
“It’s going to be very interesting to see how we match up against those teams. It’s going to be a very hard conference to win because each team, including us, is capable of winning it.”
Stagg captured a pair of matches last week to improve its season record to 4-3. The Chargers defeated Argo 13-4 on Tuesday and Hinsdale South 12-10 on Friday.
Filip Patrak scored four times and netminder Peter Krivanec stopped 14 shots to lift host Stagg past the Argonauts. Connor Kaufmann tacked on three goals for the Chargers. Against Hinsdale South, Alex Kunz netted four goals and Gabe Jezierski added a hat trick to carry Stagg to another home triumph.
Shepard dropped a pair of matches last week as it fell 19-4 to Andrew on Wednesday and 10-7 to Riverside-Brookfield on Thursday
Christian Reyes scored four goals against both the Thunderbolts and Bulldogs, while Zach Sierzega, Mike Jakbauskas and Andrew Choragwicki accounted for the Astros’ other markers opposite R-B.
GIRLS’ WATER POLO
Sandburg (3-2) notched pair of victories last week as it downed Lincoln-Way North 19-10 in an SWSC crossover affair on Monday and slipped past Bremen co-op 11-7 on Thursday.
Sarah Dolitsky led a balanced Lady Eagles attack versus the Lady Phoenix with five goals. Stephanie Pappas and Danielle Lencioni added four goals apiece for Sandburg, while Clare Lawlor tallied three times.
The Lady Eagles jumped out to a 6-3 lead after one quarter behind two goals each from Dolitsky and Lencioni. Pappas scored three times in the second period as Sandburg closed the first half on a 5-0 run to take a 13-4 lead into the break. “
The Lady Eagles, who were ahead 17-6 after three quarters, also got a goal each from Katie Flaherty, Tricia Mangila and Mara O’Connor. Netminder Morgan Bartelment was credited with 11 saves.
Lencioni and Dolitsky both registered four goals to boost Sandburg past Bremen in Orland Park.
Shepard went 2-1 in last week’s Windy City Ram Classic at Lincoln-Way North, as it beat Beecher (5-0) and Homewood-Flossmoor (2-0) on Monday and Saturday, respectively, but lost to the host school (4-1) on Wednesday.
The Lady Astros captured their win over the Lady Bobcats behind Kelly Evancich, who netted a hat trick. Aubrey Quick added two goals. Sisters Christina and Tiffani Kotas each tallied a second-half goal for Shepard opposite H-F.
Evancich and Quick recorded assists on those scores and goaltender Heather Banis posted her second shutout of the year. Also supplying strong defensive play on the Lady Astros’ behalf were Rachel Libera, Abby Newsome, Adie Pastrana and Megan Brady.
Stagg opened its season last Tuesday by playing to a scoreless tie against Andrew. Claire Heneghan and Grace Scarim combined to make seven saves for the visiting Lady Chargers.
Sandburg (99 points) held off Lemont (90) to grab the championship at the Injuns’ six-team invitational on Saturday.
Individuals collecting event victories for the Eagles included Justin Adams in the 1,600-meter run (4 minutes, 45.40 seconds), Nicholas DePesa in the high jump (6 feet, 5 inches) and Ayoolumide Abiona in the long jump (19 feet).
Josh Meier gave Shepard a first place in the 3,200-run (9:45.65) at last Saturday’s Bolingbrook Fast Times Invitational.
Cali Klein took first in the long jump (13-10½) for Sandburg (82 points), which finished third in the six-team Lemont Invitational. The Lady Eagles beat out Evergreen Park (54), Eisenhower (41) and Ridgewood (seven), but fell 35 points shy of the triumphant host team.