SXU sports summary

Cougars 16th in spring football poll

The 2014 football season is still 4 1/2 months away, but it's not too soon to begin prognosticating.
And in the opinion of NAIA football coaches, St. Xavier University is deserving of the No. 16 position in their spring top-25 poll. The Cougars finished 2013 at No. 18 despite missing out on the national tournament for the first time since 2008.
SXU, which was the NAIA national champion in 2011 and reached the semifinal round every year between 2009-2012, has been ranked in 76 consecutive polls. That's the fifth-longest streak among current NAIA institutions.
Grand View University, the 2013 national champ and a member of the Mid-States Football Association along with the Cougars, grabbed the top spot in the spring poll.
"I think this is the lowest we have been rated in a spring poll in about five years, so we will use this as a motivating factor," SXU coach Mike Feminis said. "The reality of it is that spring polls are usually just an extension of how you did last season, and for us 7-4 is unacceptable.
"I fully expect us to be right back where we belong as one of the top NAIA teams in the country this fall."
The Cougars, who are in the midst of conducting spring practices, kick off their 2014 campaign Sept. 6 against Marian University.

Sports wrap

  • Written by Anthony Nasella

 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.”

Brother Rice baseball is at a full boil

  • Written by Ken Karrson

All systems go for streaking Crusaders

  Many chefs willingly cook with rice, but most area baseball chiefs are probably steamed at the reality of Rice cooking.
  Brother Rice was at full boil last week as, at various times, its defense, pitching and offense all shone. Crusaders coach John McCarthy is most pleased about his team’s ongoing success in the first two areas, but he certainly wasn’t about to complain when Rice’s bats put Andrew in plenty of hot water on Saturday.
  Seven players produced multiple-hit games, the Crusaders knocked out 20 hits in all, and that relentless barrage forced the Thunderbolts to absorb a 23-10 beating. The lopsided victory completed a spotless week for Rice, which also got the better of neighborhood rival Marist (3-1) and Hinsdale Central (8-3) in earlier encounters.
  The Crusaders entered the current week with four consecutive triumphs and an 11-3 ledger. They were due to face Chicago Catholic League foes in their next four contests.
  Ironically, it’s one of the setbacks that McCarthy credits for putting his guys on the fast track.

Revenge is sweet

  • Written by Ken Karrson

Astros pay back Rams for 2013 disappointment

What a difference a year makes.
When Shepard last visited Burbank for a baseball game against Reavis, it left with tail tucked firmly between legs. That’s what happens when a huge lead is squandered and, instead of a victory, the would-be winner gets tagged with a gut-wrenching defeat.
While forgetting that recent bit of the past would probably be in the Astros’ best interests, current players made no attempt to run from it while making a return trip to 77th and Austin.
“They all knew about it,” Shepard coach Frank DiFoggio said of last season’s 15-14 setback. “They talked about it on the bus, but they were more joking about it than anything else.”
In some ways, DiFoggio wasn’t shocked at the Astros’ collapse in their 2013 road encounter with the Rams.
“It’s the little shop of horrors over there,” he said with a chuckle. “It’s always tough for us to play there. It always seems like it’s cold, it’s damp and it’s dark there when we play.
“But when we got there on Tuesday, the sun was shining. It was the total opposite of what it usually is, and so was the game.”

Looking ‘Dog(s)gone good

  • Written by Ken Karrson

Richards tops Spartans twice in spotless week

Everyone connected with Richards baseball would love it if the South Suburban Conference Red championship remains in Oak Lawn this spring.
They’d like to see only one change: have ownership of it move a few miles to the south.
Oak Lawn High School is the defending SSC Red kingpin, a point Bulldogs coach Brian Wujcik made sure to emphasize to his athletes prior to last Monday’s confrontation with the Spartans. Part of what pushed Oak Lawn to the top of the divisional standings a year ago was its ability to register a sweep of its two-game neighborhood series.
“All week, we told [our guys], ‘If we want to win, we’ve got to go through them,’” Wujcik said.
So that’s what Richards proceeded to do, albeit in nail-biting fashion. The Bulldogs defeated the Spartans on both Monday and Tuesday, but the latter did not go down easily.
Eight innings, in fact, were needed to settle the issue on Monday. Richards squeezed out a 2-1 victory and then blanked Oak Lawn 5-0 in Tuesday’s rematch. Two days after that, another win was pocketed, as the Bulldogs downed Oak Forest 12-5 in an SSC crossover contest.