The Naperville Central boys water polo team scored 8 unanswered goals en route to a 13-7 win over visiting Waubonsie Valley on Tuesday, but it was the Redhawks' defense that was the focus of postgame comments.
"We've been trying to work on defense," said Naperville Central junior Kyle Stablein, who scored 5 goals. "We were at the Fenwick tournament last weekend and we were dropping down too much and getting caught out of position.
"Waubonsie is a solid team and has good players like (Mike) McWhirter. They beat us on a couple of quick counterattacks and we needed to get back on defense which we did."
The Warriors (3-8) took charge early, taking a 2-0 lead just 48 seconds into the game on goals by Steven Ernst and Cameron Steele.
With the contest still less than a minute old, Naperville Central's Joe Bigenwald scored the first of his game-high 6 goals with 6:04 left in the opening period. Three minutes later Ryan Donahue tied the game for the Redhawks and with just 39 seconds remainng Stablein tallied his first goal to give Naperville Central a 3-2 advantage after the first quarter and start the barrage of 8 unanswered goals.
The game was the home opener for the Redhawks (6-3) and their first competition of the year in a shallow-deep pool. Naperville Central coach Bill Salentine complemented his team on how it ran its offense and defense during its time in the deep end.
"At the end of the year, all the competition will be in deep pools. With our deep-end defense today, there were a couple of lapses. But overall I'm happy. We're moving in the right direction," he said.
Bigenwald and Stablein each scored 3 goals during the 7-goal second quarter with Luke Ryan hitting net for the other.
After Naperville Central took an 11-2 lead in the third quarter, Waubonsie responded with 3 unanswered goals to make it 11-5 at the quarter's conclusion.
Nathan Morris started at the 4:12 mark with McWhirter scoring 2 of his team-high four goals in the final two minutes. The first was a nice backhand shot on an assist from Austin Johnson.
McWhirter's final goal of the game with 2:14 remaining started with a pool-length pass from Morris
Waubonsie coach Matt Niemeier said the Warriors have speed and need to use it.
"We're not using the speed the swim team had this past season. We need to come down, press the defense and score goals. That's how we will win games," he said.
Winning goalie att Prestinario made 13 saves for the Redhawks.