Naperville North's 10-3 win over visiting Fremd on Monday in boys water polo showed how two state quarterfinalists from 2012 are taking different paths toward accomplishing their goals this season.
The Huskies, ranked third in one poll, erupted for 5 first-period goals en route to moving their record to 8-1. It's a team with definite postseason aspirations this spring and played strong from beginning to end.
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"We don't want to let up. We have a good game tomorrow night (Tuesday) against Lockport. It's not the time to be complacent," said Naperville North coach John Blumthal.
Eric Curia led the Naperville North offense with 3 goals, all of which came in the 5-goal first period. Drake McClure and Gianmarco Duin each scored the first of their 2 goals apiece in the first quarter as well.
"Instead six individuals, we're functioning as a team. We're running plays so that everyone can score," Curia said.
Fremd (4-3) had gotten on the scoreboard to tie the game at 1-1 just 16 seconds after Curia's first goals thanks to Adam Rivara.
The Vikings lost most of their starters from last season, and coach Brian Newby said No. 20 Fremd should improve as the season progresses.
"It's a new crew. We're trying to find the right combinations and put kids in the right spots," he said.
After Naperville North led 6-1 at intermission, Fremd, which plays host to Schaumburg Tuesday, got two goals in the third quarter from J.P. French with a nice feed from Connor Helsdingen on the first score.
Huskies goalie Michael Shabel finished with 11 saves and also assisted on the highlight goal of the night with a pool-length pass to McCure for his second goal during the third quarter.
Blumthal said Naperville North's defense is geared toward keeping the goalie sharp by facing a lot of shots.
"We try to funnel everything into the goalie. (Shabel) looked good," the Naperville North coach said.
Shabel thinks that type of defense is a positive for him.
"I'm not where I want to be right now. But I'll improve through it (the season) and the defense we run will help me," he said.
Luke Landiak, David Holzer and Brandon Nyland each tallied a goal for the Huskies.