With three wins last week, Stagg’s boys’ water polo team moved back above the .500 mark as it finishes the regular season against challenging teams in preparation for the state tournament.
The Chargers (12-10) defeated Lincoln-Way North 8-3 on Monday, Lincoln-Way West 12-5 on Tuesday and Brother Rice 17-12 on Wednesday. The victories, according to Stagg coach Wes Gonzalez, are an indication that his club is becoming more cohesive.
“We’re hoping to keep getting better as we get closer to the playoffs,” Gonzalez said. “The kids are starting to come together and play better. There’s not really a weak spot on the team.”
Zack Amendola had three goals and four steals to lead the host Chargers past Lincoln-Way North in a SouthWest Suburban Conference crossover match. Sophomore netminder Lane Holin made 10 saves for Stagg.
That same duo continued to perform at a high level after Monday. Amendola tallied five times versus Lincoln-Way West and six opposite Rice, while Holin was credited with 15 more saves against the Warriors.
While Amendola has obviously been a scoring force for the Chargers, Gonzalez said the emergence of other players has also made an impact on the team’s success.
“The nice thing is that everyone has improved a lot, so we’re not trying to rely on just one person,” Gonzalez said. “Peter Krivanec has taken a big step for us.
“He was our all-conference [and] all-sectional goalie last year, and we took him out of the goal and put a sophomore in there. And now Peter has done a really good job in the field for us. That has really helped to strengthen our lineup quite a bit.”
Meanwhile, Holin has adjusted nicely to his new role as well.
“We knew he would be fine,” Gonzalez said “Lane was just waiting for his turn and Peter needed a change. He’s having more fun in a new position and has more value to the team.”
With SWSC Blue matches against Sandburg, Lockport, and Homewood-Flossmoor coming up, Gonzalez is not concerned about his team’s ledger, only where it ultimately finishes
“Our record doesn’t truly show how we’ve progressed,” he said. “We’ve had some changes throughout the season. We were missing guys for this and that
“But if you lose the sectional, you’re done. It doesn’t matter if you’re 30-0 [before that], so we have to be ready for it. We’re building toward it.
“We’re healthy and excited, and we had a good week of practice. We’re ready and excited to move on.”
Sandburg went 4-1 last week to improve to 13-4.
The Eagles faced District 230 rival Andrew twice during that span. The Thunderbolts handed Sandburg its lone setback on Thursday, but the Eagles avenged that 14-11 loss by taking down Andrew as part of a four-match sweep through their own invitational over the weekend. Sandburg topped the T’bolts 9-1 to claim the tournament championship.
Zach Roper notched nine of the Eagles’ goals in their first meeting with Andrew and then scored 11 times on Friday to help Sandburg roll past Riverside-Brookfield (16-4) and St. Charles North (10-4).
A 9-7 win over Conant on Saturday placed the Eagles in the final opposite the T’bolts, and Roper chipped in six more goals to the Sandburg cause. Also pivotal for the Eagles was netminder Sean McNicholas’ 16 saves.
Roper’s tally with 48 seconds left in the opening quarter got Sandburg on the board. Two more goals by Roper during the second period were instrumental in establishing a 4-0 cushion by halftime, and he scored twice more in the third stanza as the Eagles continued to pull away.
GIRLS’ WATER POLO
Sandburg dropped 8-4 and 13-11 decisions to Lincoln-Way Central and Andrew, respectively, last week before bouncing back to rout Fremd 11-2 on Saturday.
Caitlin Krull (five goals) and Sarah Dolitsky (four) powered the Lady Eagles’ attack versus the Lady Knights on Wednesday, and Dolitsky played a key role again on Saturday as her six markers topped Sandburg’s production against Fremd. Claire Lawlor added a hat trick on the Lady Eagles’ behalf.
Lincoln-Way North outlasted Sandburg 22-25, 25-19, 25-23 in an SWSC crossover match last Thursday night despite good efforts from a number of Eagles.
Headlining for Sandburg (13-6, 0-1) was Paul Chmura, who put down 17 kills on a variety of shots and made five blocks. Dan Tynski added nine kills, while middle hitters Neil Naughton and Kyle Van Stedum had seven apiece. The latter duo also combined for eight blocks, five of them delivered by Naughton.
Shepard fell to defeat last week in a pair of three-set South Suburban Conference Red matches. Oak Lawn nipped the Astros 25-21, 18-25, 25-22 on Tuesday, while Argo scored a 19-25, 25-20, 25-12 win on Thursday.
Standouts versus the Spartans included Hussein Al-Rashdan (16 assists, two kills, two blocks), Edgar Madrigal (14 digs) and Steve Szajek (four kills, four blocks, four service aces). Szajek also contributed seven blocks and four kills against the Argonauts.
Others lending a hand for Shepard (5-12, 0-2) in the latter match were Ivan Magana (six kills, two blocks) and Bartek Juszczuk (seven kills).
Stagg prevailed over Homewood-Flossmoor 25-14, 25-13 in an SWSC Blue encounter last Thursday night. Nick Stanek dished out 21 assists and Trevor Crain spiked eight kills to propel the host Chargers (9-5, 1-0).
Shepard claimed its third invitational title Thursday night at Hillcrest’s Lady Hawk Classic by scoring 90 points to runner-up Mother McAuley’s 82 in the 16-school meet.
Courtney Dalton won the 300-meter low hurdles for the Lady Astros in 46.56 seconds and also ran in three relays, including as a member of the second-place 1,600 unit and third-place 800 team.
Chasz Wells and Chrystal McAlpin were other important contributors for Shepard. In addition to being part of the 800 and 1,600 relays, Wells captured the triple jump with a leap of 33 feet, 7 1/2 inches. McAlpin, meanwhile, was a double winner as she took first in both the shot put (35-6) and discus (117-3).
Shepard went 2-1 last week to improve its record to 7-4-1 overall and 4-2 in the SSC Red. The Lady Astros defeated Eisenhower (5-1) and Oak Forest (2-0), but fell to Tinley Park (2-1).
Tiffany Kotas and Kelly Evancich each scored two goals to carry Shepard past the Lady Cardinals last Monday, while Jenny Kempczynski added a goal and two assists.
Kempczynski got the Lady Astros on the board in the 17th minute, collecting a loose ball in the middle of the field just outside the box and scoring on a high shot. After Eisenhower tallied, Shepard responded with two goals by Kotas and one from Evancich.
Evancich and Kempczynski scored for the host Lady Astros in their victory over the Lady Bengals on Thursday.
Stagg lost 3-1 to Lincoln-Way West in an SWSC crossover match last Tuesday.
Stagg’s Brendon Wolan prevailed at No. 1 singles, but the Chargers still dropped a 4-3 verdict to Homewood-Flossmoor in an SWSC Red match last Thursday.
Oak Forest blanked Chicago Christian 6-0 in a nonconference match last Wednesday.
Lincoln-Way North got the better of Shepard by a 9-6 margin last Monday.