Girls water polo: Haas' hot start helps Stevenson into semifinals
Talk about going off.
Stevenson sophomore Claire Haas knew how crucial the Pats' girls water polo state quarterfinal matchup was against St. Ignatius.
It was Haas's 5 first-half goals that proved to be huge as Stevenson escaped with a 10-7 victory over the Wolfpack on Friday.
The Pats will next square off against Fenwick, a 13-7 winner over New Trier, in the second semifinal game at 12:45 on Saturday in Lincolnshire.
"Yeah, that was a very good first half for us," said Haas, whose 5 goals on the evening led all Stevenson scorers. "We expected a great game from them, but we're always prepared mentally."
The Pats (33-1) scored first when Haas took a feed from senior utility player and Long Beach State-bound Allison Travetto for a 1-0 lead just 37 seconds into the contest.
St. Ignatius, which finished the season 25-4, answered right back a minute later to tie it 1-1. But with 4:23 left in the first, Travetto banged in her first score of the game for a 2-1 lead that Stevenson would never relinquish.
"We always want to come out strong," said Pats coach Jeff Wimer. "We expected a flurry from them, but our defense was outstanding."
Travetto added her second goal late in the first as Stevenson jumped ahead 4-2 after the opening frame.
Haas picked up where she left off in the second, scoring three more times, while freshman utility player Lauren Maloney added a single goal. The defense was tremendous, and amazing goaltending by senior and Brown commit Lauren Burns helped create some space and lead to an 8-2 advantage at halftime.
But St. Ignatius came out firing in the third with three unanswered goals to cut the deficit to 8-5 with the final period looming.
After that third goal by the Wolfpack with 2:21 left in the period, Wimer called a timeout.
And as all composed and experienced teams do, Stevenson came out with renewed focus.
"That timeout really settled us down and we were able to get back to great team defense," said Travetto, whose 3 goals brought her total to a mind-boggling 220 on the season.
Travetto and senior utility player Tanya Shkiler both scored fourth-quarter goals to ensure the victory for the defending champs.
"When they came out like they did in the third just made us realize we can't let up at any time," added Haas, who is second on the team with 91 goals this spring after Friday. "And Lauren (Burns) was fantastic."
Speaking of Burns, this girl was relentless in goal, to the tune of 18 saves. She also collected 2 steals and had 3 assists, as her long outlet passes down the pool usually find a streaking fellow teammate poised to score.
"Lauren was definitely the MVP of the game," added Travetto. "Everyone on this team has a purpose and we're just looking continue the momentum against Fenwick."
By the way, the one blemish on the Pats' record came at the hands of who else: the Friars.