Boys water polo: It tastes like victory as Stevenson ousts Lyons

 
By John Phelps
Daily Herald Correspondent
Updated 5/19/2016 8:49 PM

The best remedy for a bad taste in the mouth is usually mouthwash.

But there's a different solution as it relates to the Stevenson boys water polo team.

 

On Thursday afternoon in the second state quarterfinal match held in Lincolnshire, the Pats finally got rid of that "bad taste" when it upended defending state champion Lyons 13-7.

"Definitely a revenge game for us," said Pats coach Sean Wimer, whose troops fell to Lyons 9-6 in the title game last spring. Stevenson will next play New Trier, a 13-7 victory against Fremd, in the first semifinal game at 9 a.m. Saturday.

"We were relentless and executed the game plan perfectly," Wimer said. "They (Lyons) are a great team that runs a lot of heavy drops in the middle. But we have shooters and didn't settle for shots that they wanted us to take."

Defense was the story in the early going as the Pats forced Lyons into two early shot clock violations.

Lyons (30-3) actually got the first tally when freshman center Victor Perez's shot from mid-pool slipped just past Stevenson keeper Charlie Day.

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That served as a wake-up call as Stevenson scored the next two goals to take a 2-1 lead after the opening act. Senior utility player Cris Tomassetti fed sophomore attacker Collin Kapecki, which was followed by junior attacker Rahul Arun's assist to junior center/defender Andrew Shashin.

Then Lyons tied it up 2-2 a minute into the second period, but Stevenson answered right back when Shashin blasted in his second goal with 2:30 left in the half for a 3-2 advantage.

Lyons obviously wasn't about to go quietly when it tied the game again at 3-3 with 1:25 left in the half.

But the Pats grabbed the lead right back at 4-3 12 seconds later when Shashin scored his third goal, and Stevenson never gave up the lead again. The Pats added 3 more goals in the third to take an 8-4 lead heading into the final 7 minutes.

Collin Kapecki, the Pats' leading scorer with 83 goals this spring, netted his second of the game while Tomassetti scored twice in the period.

The Pats added 5 more goals in the fourth for emphasis.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

Senior attacker Kurt Holzer scored twice, while single goals were added by senior attacker Alex Kapecki, Tomassetti, and Shashin, who rifled a penalty shot past the outstretched arms of the Lyons keeper for the final tally in the closing seconds.

Meanwhile, the Stevenson defense did its thing as well. Arun, Holzer, Shashin and Tomassetti were among those instrumental in stopping any penetration in the middle when Lyons was poised to score. And Day, who has gotten better and better every game, negated 10 Lyons shots, many of them coming with the shooter right in his grill.

"Our defense was outstanding," noted Wimer. "That was one of our best games of the year. We're looking to keep it going into Saturday."

Stevenson was aggressive on offense from the get-go, outshooting the Lions 34-24.

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