Mid-Suburban League West Division champion Palatine has a roster full of players who have shown the ability to score.
But in big games, big-time players need to step-up to the challenge.
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Wednesday night in the MSL boys water polo championship against Buffalo Grove, Pirates senior Brad Ferris came up big - scoring 8 goals in a 15-7 victory.
"Brad is our top performer offensively," said Pirates coach Joe Grzybek, "but we don't focus our offense on him."
The host Pirates (20-10) led the Bison 10-7 after three quarters. Ferris, already with 6 goals, chose to concentrate on his own half of the pool before attacking - leading to the Pirates outscoring the Bison 5-0 in the final quarter.
"I stayed back to help but when I had a chance to burn them deep, I did," Ferris said.
The Bison (18-11) showed a lot of poise coming back multiple times early against the Pirates but lost momentum as the game wore on despite senior all-conference selection Dan Striev's 5-goal performance.
"They locked us up in the third quarter," said Bison coach Scott Kopecky. "We turned the ball over and they burned us for 4 or 5 goals."
Kopecky and his team have already moved on from the loss. In the locker room, he told his team "the real season starts Wednesday" when BG plays Conant in sectional action.
"We need to move around offensively and don't let stupid turnovers get us," Striev said.
As for the Pirates, the top seed in their sectional, they're getting back on track to where they want to be.
"We need to prove why we're the No. 1 seed." Grzybek said.