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updated: 5/13/2011 11:26 PM

Palatine surfaces in time to edge Libertyville

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By Bill McLean
Daily Herald Correspondent

Where's Kamil Mulawa?

For a few seconds, as time expired in the third quarter, that was the question of the night in a Vernon Hills boys water polo sectional semifinal between Palatine and Libertyville on Friday.

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Mulawa, a Palatine senior hole-set, was underwater completely, and with the ball in his hand. As he resurfaced, he skipped a backhanded shot past Libertyville keeper Clayton Kullander.

It was astonishing, magical.

Spectators should have been required to pay extra, as they exited, following Palatine's 13-5 victory.

"After that goal? I just smiled," said Pirates coach Joe Grzybek. "That was all about instinct meeting opportunity."

It was Mulawa's fourth goal of the quarter, putting his top-seeded club up 10-5. He finished with 8 goals.

Palatine (25-6) faces McHenry (28-4) for the sectional title today at 1:15 p.m.; McHenry edged Palatine 9-8 in a sectional final last spring.

Eighth-seeded Libertyville (16-16) led 4-3 at the break Friday night. Tommy Keefe, Ian Kinsella and Ben Snader found the net for the Wildcats.

"Libertyville played well, definitely," said Mulawa. "We got angry, a little, in the third quarter because we didn't play our game in the first half. But we also upped the intensity for the entire second half."

The Pirates outscored the Wildcats 7-1 in the game-changing third frame, with Pirates senior John Giuliano authoring 2 of his 4 goals.

"We gave a very good team a run, didn't we? Especially in the first half," said Libertyville coach Ivan Munoz. "We got in there, ready to go. Palatine has a good group of boys, it's also a well-coached team."

McHenry 8, Mundelein 7: Brawn (McHenry) vs. finesse (Mundelein).

That was how Mundelein coach Rahul Sethna described the second boys quarterfinal at VH Friday night.

Strength won barely.

"Teams with contrasting styles," Sethna said beforehand. "We like to swim fast, drive. McHenry is physical."

McHenry struck for 2 goals in the final 30 seconds of the first quarter.

The Mustangs, seeded third, cut the second-seeded Warriors' lead to 8-7 at 1:04 of the final quarter.

"We had our chances," Sethna said. "But we couldn't convert some 1-on-nones."

Senior Will Falconer paced Mundelein with 2 goals.

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