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updated: 3/15/2014 5:18 PM

Boys water polo / Scouting Lake County

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  • Stevenson's Mitchell Sokolsky shoots against Palatine in the Mundelein sectional championship game last season.

       Stevenson's Mitchell Sokolsky shoots against Palatine in the Mundelein sectional championship game last season.
    George LeClaire | Staff Photographer

 
 

LIBERTYVILLE

Head coach: Ivan Munoz (3rd season)

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Last season: 19-12

Returning players: Adam King (senior center), Pat King (senior driver), Alex Kratcoski (junior driver), Andrew Fink (sophomore goalie)

Newcomers: Jordan Mitchell (sophomore driver), Paul Manfredini (sophomore driver), Max Sampson (senior center), Bennett Hoffmann (senior center defender)

Outlook: The last time Libertyville guys were splashing around in a pool, the swimming team was celebrating a second-place finish in the team standings at last month's state. The water polo team will look to do some high-fiving of its own this spring. Pat King was a state qualifier in the 200- and 500-yard freestyles. "We look to improve from last year's record but, above all, improve our finish at sectionals," coach Ivan Munoz said.

MUNDELEIN

Head coach: Russell Gates (1st season)

Last season: 12-19

Returning players: Ayrton Kasemets (senior 2M defense), Jude Krauss (senior 2M offense), Andrew Gray (senior utility), Kyle Siebert (senior utility)

Newcomers: Alfonso Ochoa (junior goalie), Jeremy Westgate (junior driver), Mike Ward (sophomore utility)

Outlook: Former longtime assistant coach Russell Gates inherits a team that returns only two starters. Ayrton Kasemets comes off a swimming season in which he earned state medals in the 100-yard breaststroke (fourth) and 200 IM (10th). "We're looking to some of last year's bench players to step up and some youth to fill in positions," Gates said.

STEVENSON

Head coach: Sean Wimer (8th season)

Last season: 23-10-1

Returning players: Mitchell Sokolsky (senior utility), Alex Divanyan (senior center defender), Zach Stephens (senior utility), Alex Kapecki (sophomore attacker), Liam Holzer (junior utility), Kurt Holzer (sophomore attacker)

Newcomers: Andrew Shashin (freshman center), Dan Maleski (freshman defender), Shaurya Gilani (junior goalie), Luke Gable-Preze (junior attacker), Michael Taiberg (senior center)

Outlook: Last season's state runner-up returns only two starters, but one is senior Mitchell Sokolsky, whose 120 goals last season accounted for a bulk of the team's scoring. A lot of players who were responsible for the Patriots' bench production are also back. "Last year, all of our bench players were sophomores or freshmen," coach Sean Wimer said. "While they were excited to make the state championship game last year, the boys were disappointed they didn't win it all. (Losing to Fenwick) left a bitter taste in their mouths, and that's something I can't coach (the desire to win). They used that loss as motivation all year long to try and get back to be in a position to win it all." The Patriots have added what Wimer calls two "huge" freshmen in Andrew Shashin, who Wimer says "would've started for us at center in the championship game as an eighth-grader, and Dan Maleski. " When I say huge, I mean production and size," Wimer said. "Both are 6-3 and 180-pounds-plus."

VERNON HILLS

Head coach: Adam Lueken (1st season)

Last season: 3-12

Returning players: Danny Strohl (senior goalie), Sean Pinter (senior driver), Saad Maki (senior hole), Yuryi Stephanov (senior hole), Jack Manning (junior utility), Nikita Mikhaylov (junior driver), Conrad Kocoj (junior wing)

Newcomers: Richard Padovano (junior wing), Patrick Pranica (junior utility)

Outlook: Adam Lueken takes over as head coach after five years running the JV squad. His Cougars will have a veteran look. "Our team has, for the most part, stayed the same," Lueken said. "However, my boys are ready for the competitiveness of our conference. We expect a winning season and to make it far into the sectionals. Our team is full of potential and we plan on upsetting a lot of teams."

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