Time is right for a Stevenson quarterfinal win
Timing is everything.
And the Stevenson boy's water polo team couldn't have picked a better time to be operating on all cylinders.
The Patriots punched their ticket into the state semifinals after coasting past Lincoln-Way Central 12-4 in quarterfinal action on Friday afternoon at Stevenson.
"We're hitting our stride," Pats coach Sean Wimer said of his club, who now plays top-ranked Fenwick in the semis at 11:30 a.m. today. The winner there would advanced to the 8 p.m. championship against either St. Ignatius or Lyons.
"We had plenty of opportunities and we played really well in the first half," Wimer said. "We were communicating, using our legs -- everything."
Stevenson, which improved to 27-6, finished fourth at state a year ago and knows Fenwick is always tough.
"We lost to them three times this year, and I think most of the pressure is on them and we don't have anything to lose," said Wimer.
In recent games the Pats have tended to start slowly before coming back and ultimately blitzing the opposition. Against Lincoln-Way Central, Stevenson started a little faster and jumped to a 5-1 lead after the opening quarter.
Utility player Collin Kapecki had a perfect touch pass to fellow utility player Andrew Shashin, and the Pats were off to the races.
Attacker Kurt Holzer scored twice, while Shashin added his second and attacker Alex Kapecki scored as Stevenson grabbed a 5-1 lead after the opening quarter.
The Pats added 3 more scores in the second to take an 8-1 lead into halftime.
Collin Kapecki, a freshman and the team's leading scorer, netted a pair of goals while utility player Dan Maleski tallied once to account for the scoring in the second frame.
Stevenson goalie Shaurya Gilani made several nifty saves in the first half and finished with 12.
"It's all anticipation and thinking in the back of my mind that everyone and anyone can score," he said. "Once in a while a ball slips through. Being confident in my abilities and having that mentality keeps me alert at all times while I'm in goal. And our defense was awesome and more intense today."
Collin Kapecki scored the lone third-quarter goal and added his fourth of the game during the final period after taking a feed from attacker Nick Koto. Maleski also scored his second and third goals of the game in the fourth to complete the Patriots' scoring.
Gilani is looking forward to the reunion with Fenwick.
"It would be great to beat a team like that," he said. "We study each other and played them tough and lost 7-6 last time."