Boys water polo: Scouting Lake County
Coach: Ethan Matthews
Returning players: Andrew Fink (Sr.), Michael Watson (Sr.), Jakob Lex (Sr.), Peter Misko (Sr.), Jordan Mitchell (Sr.), Scott Villiard (Jr.), William Becker (Jr.), Carl Michelotti (So.), Aaron Chin (So.), Nicholas Harrington (So.), Erik Lichtenberger (Jr.), Eric Mueller (Jr.), Connor Salata (Jr.), Benjamin Sutter (So.)
Newcomers: Edward Stevens (Fr.), Jack Otto (So.)
Season outlook: First-year coach Ethan Matthews, who played at Bradley-Bourbonnais and Illinois State University, inherits a four-year varsity goalie in Andrew Fink as well as several other experienced players. The veteran seniors include 6-4 scoring machine Jakob Lex, defender Michael Watson, Peter Misko and Jordan Mitchell. "It's truly a privilege to walk into a great organization and setup," Matthews said. "All of these guys want to be here. It's awesome." The Wildcats opened their season Tuesday with a 13-3 win over Deerfield.
Coach: Russ Gates
Returning players: Mike Ward (Sr. 2 m offense), Matt Schaedel (Sr. attacker), Nick Oleinik (Jr. attacker), Eric Nielsen (Sr. driver), Duncan Black (Sr. driver), Jerimiah Lam (Sr. goalie)
Newcomers: Nikita Hristev (Sr. 2 m defense)
Season outlook: The Mustangs went 18-13-1 last season, and their returnees include senior Mike Ward, who recently signed to play for Wagner College in New York City. "We hope to improve on last year's record," coach Russ Gates said. "We return all but one starting position and have added depth with our other returning players. Our goal is to make it to state this year."
Coach: Sean Wimer
Returning players: Andrew Shashin (Jr. defender), Cristiano Tomassetti (Sr. attacker), Kurt Holzer (Sr. attacker), Alex Kapecki (Sr. attacker), Dan Maleski (Jr. center), Collin Kapecki (So. attacker)
Newcomers: Eric Osuch (So. attacker), Justin Ginsberg (So. center), Rahul Arun (Jr. attacker), Charlie Day (So. goalie)
Season outlook: Last year's state runner-up is loaded again. The Patriots went 28-7 last season and return their top six scorers, each of whom scored at least 50 goals. Junior defender Andrew Shashin was the first sophomore to be named Illinois player of the year in 25-plus years, coach Sean Wimer said. Senior attackers Cristiano Tomassetti and Kurt Holzer were all-conference selections, while senior attacker Alex Kapecki was named second team all-state. Junior center Dan Maleski was honorable mention all-state. Sophomore attacker Collin Kapecki was the Patriots' leading scorer as a freshman. "We're the preseason No. 1 team because we return so much talent, but as the last few years have proved, talent doesn't beat hard work," Wimer said. "Our goal this season is to win the state championship and we can achieve that by working hard and getting better every day. There's no excuses with this team, and I love the makeup of this team. The attitude and desire of this team to win and get better is infectious, and it stems from three great senior leaders (Tomassetti, Holzer and Kapecki) looking to get their fourth state trophy in four years."
Coach: Adam Lueken
Returning players: Jason Palmer (Jr. goalie), Declan Kelleher (Jr. hole offense), Daniel Kuzmin (Sr. hole offense), Daniel Greenberg (Sr. driver), Derek Zhang (Jr. wing), Jackson Murrie (So. wing).
Newcomers: Jeffrey Zhang (So.), Ron Levich (Sr.)
Season outlook: Coach Adam Lueken isn't concerned about his small roster, which gets a boost from Ron Levich, who returns after not playing as a junior. "We have a small but fierce team," Lueken said. "We are looking to play smart and utilize the talent we have. Our new guys bring a lot of speed to our team, and we look forward to a great season."