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Moraine Athletics Wrap

  • Written by Maura Vizza

Worth the wait — Cyclones shine at nationals

   It was a long time since the Moraine Valley Community College’s women’s tennis team played an organized match, the last being their second place finish in the NJCAA Region IV Tournament on Oct. 12.  Since then, they’ve practiced hard for a challenging matchup at the NJCAA Tournament, last week in Tyler, Texas. In Moraine Valley’s sixth trip to the nationals, the players had enough grit to earn some big wins, a first for the college.

  Tricia Poremba at sixth singles provided the highlight. For the first time, Moraine Valley won a main draw match. The undefeated All-Conference and All-Region player took 3.5 hours in a three-set battle to knock out a player from Mississippi.
  This win earned the Cyclones their first points of the tournament. Poremba’s second match was against a consistent Pima (Arizona) player and was a near repeat of her first match. She lost the first set 4-6, and in the beginning of the second set called for a trainer due to a considerable shoulder injury. Despite the pain, she fought through it and came back to win the second set, 7-5, after being down 3-5. The third, deciding set went 4-6 in favor of Pima.
  “Never have I ever seen anybody fight as hard as Tricia did, especially with an injury, and even more so with that blazing Texas heat. To do this two days in a row, I’m just astounded,” said head coach Nicole Selvaggio. “Tricia epitomizes our heart, integrity and grace mantra. Everyone couldn’t stop talking about what a fighter she was.”
  Poremba set the tone for the Cyclones. Eisenhower grad Liz Dominguez (first singles), Oak Lawn product Claudia Maka (fourth singles), and Andrew alum Alexa Armon (third singles) all won consolation singles matches.

Softball roundup

  • Written by Anthony Nasella

Astros continue to soar in softball

  Whether it was accomplished by seasoned seniors or newcomer underclassmen, the Shepard girls’ softball team continued its winning ways last week and improved its season record to 15-6.
  The Lady Astros went 4-1: defeating Argo on two separate days, Mt. Assisi and Oak Lawn — with their only setback coming against Andrew.
  “It was a nice week for us,” Shepard head coach Kelsey Clifford said. “We were able to get some more conference wins in there. Obviously, because of the weather, we’re still in conference play.”
  On May 5, Shepard started the week with a 9-6 victory over Argo, racking up 11 hits in the process and taking advantage of eight stranded Argo base runners. The Astros went up for good in the fifth, scoring five runs on three singles.
  Kaitlyn Blanton, a sophomore and recent addition to the varsity team, reached base three times in the game, driving in a run and scoring a run. She singled in the fourth and seventh innings.
  Stephanie Brand got the win, despite allowing six runs over seven innings. She struck out five, walked one, and surrendered 12 hits. She also went 2-for-4 with three RBI.
  On May 6, Shepard defeated Mt. Assisi 8-7, as Bryanna Cross’ three-run homer keyed the visitors. Jenna Huisenga and Alyssa DeChene tacked on solo shots for the Astros. Melissa Kelly (4-4) took the win on the mound.

Sports wrap

  • Written by Anthony Nasella

The captain is back and Sandburg girls water polo three-peats in conference

Having already scored a conference victory earlier in the season over Lincoln-Way East, the Sandburg girls’ polo team knew that a win over the Griffins May 5 would seal the SouthWest Suburban Blue title for the Eagles.
And that’s exactly what happened. Behind even goals from Sarah Dolitsky, combined with a total-team effort, Sandburg prevailed 10-6 in Orland Park for its third straight conference title.
It was the first of three wins during the week for the Eagles (20-8, 11-2), who added a 7-2 victory over Neuqua Valley the following night and a 10-4 win over Homewood-Flossmoor last Wednesday night.
The win against Lincoln-Way East was significant for the Eagles because the game marked the return of team captain Danielle Lencioni, who had been recovering from a broken hand. She had a goal and two assists against the Griffins.
“Losing Danielle was a had been a big loss for us,” Sandburg coach Sofia Pappanastos said. “The girls were all excited and pumped for to have her back because they were waiting to have their full team back together.

Community sports news

Evergreen sprinters shine at CC track meet

With its 800-meter relay overcoming two dropped batons to provide it with one of three event wins, Evergreen Park's boys' track team piled up 80 points to finish third in the 13-school Chicago Christian Invitational.
Illiana Christian (143 points) was the meet champion, while Leo (87) nosed out the Mustangs for the runner-up spot.
Evergreen's 800-relay unit comprised of Sean Ryan, Don Lewis, Charles Taylor and Josh Carter mishandled the baton at both the second and third exchange points, but Carter's anchor leg of 22.9 seconds over the final 200 meters allowed the Mustangs to cross the finish line ahead of the field. Evergreen's foursome clocked a 1:36.95.
Carter was a standout at other times, too. He captured the long jump title with a leap of 19 feet, 1 3/4 inches and also ran the final leg for the triumphant 400-relay team. Joining him in posting an overall time of 45.36 in that race were Ryan, Taylor and William Reeves.

Not operating at a loss

  • Written by Ken Karrson

Bulldogs bounce back from defeat to win twice

  Losing a game is much different than losing one’s bearings.
  But when winning has become commonplace, even a lone setback can have dire psychological consequences. Thus, after Richards absorbed just its second defeat over a span of 16 games last Monday, Bulldogs assistant coach Kevin Quinn had a message for the players.
  “He said, ‘Don’t lose two in a row this year,’” Richards boss Brian Wujcik said.
  And the Bulldogs proceeded to heed that advice. Not only did they gain revenge on South Suburban Conference Red rival Reavis by answering Monday’s 7-1 loss with an 8-4 victory for themselves, but the locals also went on to hammer Lincoln-Way East 12-3 on Thursday.
  “We are [still] playing with confidence,” Wujcik said. “The guys all understand we’re not Murderer’s Row, but we are efficient hitters and we can manufacture [good scoring] innings.”
  Ironically, that was the missing ingredient in the first matchup against the Rams. Reavis lefty Bibal Abuzir limited normally potent Richards to eight singles and an unearned run.
  The Bulldogs took advantage of a bad pickoff throw to set up their only score in the third inning. AJ Sanchez (RBI) and Eric Mallo wrapped singles around that Rams miscue.
  “We got beat by a guy who pitched a really good game,” Wujcik said. “We’ve been pretty accustomed to double-digit hits, and often double-digit runs, but nobody’s going to roll over for us.
  “There was a little bit of emotion lacking from our guys in this game. I know it’s clichéd, but you’ve got to come out and play hard every day.”
  Reavis broke the contest open by tallying five runs in its portion of the fourth, a rally that was helped along by a walk and hit batsman. Ryan Thompson got tagged with his first pitching loss after notching four consecutive wins.