Naperville North center Drake McClure likes drawing ejections and then looking on as his teammates take advantage of the ensuing scoring opportunities.
But the Huskies water polo standout also manages to score a few goals of his own. On Tuesday at Neuqua Valley, McClure drew his share of ejections and unbeaten Naperville North often took advantage of the extra attacker while knocking off the Wildcats 13-8. McClure also happened to tally 4 goals of his own as the Huskies stayed perfect on the year at 16-0, including a pair of wins over Neuqua Valley.
"I like to draw ejections about as much as scoring goals," said McClure, who tallied twice in the opening quarter, which ended with the Huskies on top 4-3. "I like to get other people opportunities to score. Sometimes I'm not able to score, but it's still good to draw ejections and help others score."
McClure was one of seven Huskies to score, and they needed the balanced attack to fend off an up-and-coming Wildcats team that is much stronger than its 6-7 mark would indicate. Neuqua Valley, which has lost twice to Naperville North and has only lost to teams ranked in the top 20 this spring, trailed 4-3 after one quarter but moved ahead 5-4 early in the second following scores from Joey Dalesandro and Ian Ivkovich.
The Huskies, however, picked up their play on defense and led 9-5 at the half and 10-6 after three quarters while flexing their muscles and stamina down the stretch.
"We just started playing a solid press, and we weren't playing our game before," Huskies coach Martin Bell said. "We just picked it up. We still need to jell a little better as a team, but I think generally speaking we're playing pretty good. It's hard to be upset with 16-0."
McClure scored his final goals in the fourth quarter. Teammates Nolan Roberts, Joe Tomashek and Joe Cassano each added a pair of goals.
"Usually we kind of start off slow and then by the end of the game we kind of rely on our endurance to make us pull away at the end," McClure said.
Bell credited Gianmarco Duin with helping solidify the defense, as well as pointing out McClure's solid play.
"Gianmarco stepped up today pretty big. He's filling in for our starting center defender who's injured," Bell said. "And Drake played really well. He draws a lot of ejections and he does a lot of things that don't show up on the score sheets."
For the Wildcats, Ivkovich led the way with 3 goals, while Delesandro and Simon Shatinskiy each tallied twice.
"I think really what it comes down to is North has more experience in bigger games than we do," Neuqua Valley coach Adam Hoffer said. "We certainly came out fired up to play, but North has been to state the past couple of years.
"They have experience playing at a high level for four quarters, while our team is still working toward that."