There were times during Thursday's boys water polo match between Waubonsie Valley and host Neuqua Valley that the offense of either team was completely halted in its tracks.
One could count them on just one hand.
Contact information ( * required )
Only five days removed from the Wildcats' 9-8 victory over the Warriors at the Naperville Quadrangular, both teams turned up the offense a few more amps, and when the steam from the pool finally cleared, Neuqua was a 15-13 winner.
The best advantage either team grabbed was a two-goal lead and were grateful for that as the Wildcats and Warriors attacked the net up close for most of the four quarters.
With just three seconds left in the third quarter, Alex Thoele scored his fourth and final goal of the evening to put Neuqua up 13-12.
Just more than a minute had elapsed in the final period of play when Neuqua's Simon Shatinsky scored his third goal to put the Wildcats up 14-12. Mike McWhirter responded 45 seconds later with his fifth goal to pull his team to within one.
Neuqua's Will Russell scored a game-high 6 goals and his last one, with 2:07 remaining, gave back the Wildcats what turned out to be a permanent two-goal advantage as they were able to eat the time remaining.
Winning goalie John Hedderman finished with 10 saves.
The fact that this game was an even bigger goalapalooza than Saturday's contest surprised no one.
"I didn't think we were surprised. We knew Waubonsie was good offensively and our defense was able to shut them down at the end," Thoele said.
Waubonsie (1-6) led 5-5 after the first quarter and led 9-8 at halftime. Bradin Krug scored three of his four goals in the first quarter and McWhirter scored three in the first half. Both teams were consistently able to get up close to the net to shoot.
The Warriors' Cameron Steele scored from about 15 feet to start the second quarter, the goal that traveled the most distance up to that point.
"We didn't see that (lefties shooting) on Saturday. In the second half we were able to force them to shoot from outside the perimeter more," said Neuqua coach Adam Hoffer.
The Wildcats improved to 3-3 on the young season.
"We're young. But we're showing that we're coming together and playing smart. We have our sights on trying to beat the other teams in our sectional as we go through the season," Hoffer said.
The teams will not face each other again until perhaps the postseason.
"You always look forward to it. We expected this type of game. (The Warriors) have a lot of great shooters," Russell said. "These are guys we grew up with. We have nothing but respect for them."
As for Waubonsie, the Warriors are better than their record indicates. In addition to this two-goal loss, Waubonsie has been beaten twice by just one goal.
"We're doing the right things, but not executing as well as we could," said Warriors coach Matt Niemeier. "I moved a lot of guys up this season from the JV and they need to get a little more accustomed to the quicker pace of varsity."