Boys water polo: Kusevskis, Stevenson dominate Libertyville

Stevenson senior Olin Kusevskis is a center of attention for opposing water polo defenses.

As a result, the imposing presence of the 6-foot-4 1/2, 230-pound Kusevskis opens up a lot of opportunities for his teammates. And four of them scored in the first five minutes in the Patriots' 18-8 victory at Libertyville in their North Suburban Conference opener Tuesday evening.

"He became a little bit of a facilitator," said Stevenson coach Sean Wimer. "He's our version of Shaquille O'Neal. Everybody has to run a zone defense because it takes more than one person to cover him."

The Air Force-bound Kusevskis, who Wimer calls the best player in the state, had 7 goals in three quarters for the Patriots (9-4-1). But sophomores Kenny Weisner and Armeet Gill, who played on last year's state runner-up, both scored 3 of their 4 goals before halftime and Matt Woods and Daniel Li scored in the first quarter.

"We're coming along very nicely and I couldn't be more proud of the boys," Kusevskis said. "Especially the underclassmen like Weisner and Gill. They've been doing this consistently since last year and they took it up to a new level today and especially this season."

Wimer, who is 9 wins shy of 400 for his career, put the Patriots through a tough early-morning workout Tuesday. The objective was to help his team improve its decision-making when it’s tired and under pressure.

“We saw some glimpses of that today,” Wimer said. “We’re not quite there but it’s going to happen.”

Alan Naryzhny also scored and MIT-bound goalie Armaan Gill blocked 12 shots for the Patriots, who took second to Naperville North in the powerful York tournament just before spring break.

“I don’t see why we can’t make a run for state,” Kusevskis said.

Libertyville (9-4) has three starters back from a 25-6 team and came out strong after trailing 11-2 at half. Sophomore Emmett McDonald finished with 3 goals, Seif Kotb and Ali Tolba each had a pair and Ted Stouffer scored the first of his team’s 5 third-quarter goals.

“I’m really proud of how they played because when you play Stevenson you know you’re playing a state-qualifying team,” said Libertyville coach Kara Bosman, whose team won the Buffalo Grove tourney this season. “We never gave up, we started to capitalize on offense and we were looking for open players. It was a good game for us to grow and show off some of the skill we do have.”

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