Stevenson water polo teams make winning transition in early going
There will be a few different scorers in the mix, but that's all right with Stevenson girls water polo coach Jeff Wimer.
The Patriots got used to Allison Travetto, the school's all-time leading scorer who's now showcasing her talents at Long Beach State. She punched in over 70 percent of the team's goals a year ago for Stevenson, which finished fourth in the state.
"It's nice this year. We have a lot of weapons, and we're more balanced offensively and defensively," Wimer said after his girls put the finishing touches on a 3-0 performance in their own quad on Saturday morning.
The Patriots were without their top player in junior Claire Haas, who was attending an Olympic Development tryout in California over the weekend.
"We coach the shooters to visualize, catch and fire," Wimer said.
That formula worked well in all three games, including the finale against a formidable Lyons club. Stevenson fought back from a 2-1 halftime deficit to come away with a 6-5 victory.
"Our shooting was way off, and we were complacent on defense in that first half," said Wimer, whose team finished 34-2 last season and if off to a 4-0 start this spring. "But we corrected it in the second half and had better shot selection. We were 1-for-15 shooting in the first but then went 5-for-7 in the second. We were more patient."
Junior Eileen Hoang fed junior Amelia Eastman for the Patriots' lone first-half goal. Stevenson tied it up 30 seconds into the third period when Fiona Gaffney hooked up with Kalista Tapas for the equalizer. Then, Gaffney lobbed a shot from 20 yards out that drifted pass the Lyons keeper, and Stevenson had the lead for good at 3-2.
Hoang, Julia Nicholson and Eleanor Michaud added the other goals for the Patriots. Brigitte Lefebvre and Anna Mossakowski each stopped 6 shots while splitting time in goal.
Stevenson got scoring from 12 players in a 19-1 rout of Palatine in the first game. Junior Bella Greenspan had a hat trick, and Vicky Kolotov and Shreya Sreedhar scored 2 goals apiece. Tapas, Gaffney and Lauren Maloney each scored a pair of goals. Mossakowski (4 saves) and Lefebvre (2 saves) again shared keeper duties.
Eight different scorers found the back of the net, as Stevenson downed Wheeling 13-0. Julia Nicholson scored the hat trick, while Maloney, Michaud and Kolotov each scored twice. Lefebvre stopped 5 shots.
Palatine slipped to 1-4 on the season after a 1-2 showing. The Pirates' victory came against Wheeling, 8-3, as Meghan Woell, Kiki Herbst and Harper Appel each scored a pair of goals. Martika Theis and Emily Miehlke also scored.
"We're inexperienced but pretty happy overall and just trying to improve every game," Pirates coach Mitch Tucker said. "We were hoping for a win here today, and to get it in our last game definitely helps the morale."
Woell and Claire Davis each stopped 4 shots while sharing time in goal. Appel had the lone tally in the loss to Stevenson, while the Pirates lost the opening game 8-0 to Lyons.
Wheeling slipped to 0-4 with 3 losses. The Wildcats fell to Stevenson 11-0 and Lyons 21-0. In the 8-3 loss to Palatine, Holly Schroeder scored 2 goals and Talia Kahn netted the other.
"It's been a rough start, but the nice thing is we play some of the top teams, which gives us good awareness," Wheeling coach Jessica Xenakis said. "We're relatively young, but the girls are hungry. One day and one game at a time."
Boys water polo
Stevenson swept its three opponents Saturday. The Patriots upended Niles West 17-6 in the opening contest, as juniors Justin Ginsberg and Collin Kapecki each scored 4 goals. Dan Maleski and Andrew Shashin had hat tricks. Eric Osuch (2 goals) and Rahul Arun (goal) also scored for the Patriots.
Nik Eberling did a terrific job in goal in the first game, stopping 4 shots filling in for starter Charlie Day, who had family commitments.
Stevenson, last season's state runner-up, saw every field player score as it rolled past Wheeling 24-2. Sophomores Jonah Benthusen and Filip Mihajlovic each scored a hat trick, while seven other players had 2 goals apiece. Dillon Mader and Anthony Delgado each scored goals for the Wildcats, who went 0-3 in the event and are 0-4 overall.
"Our numbers are really down and we're just trying to get through," Wildcats coach Bob Savitt said. "But the guys are really hustling, and this season we're going to be learning piecemeal."
Fremd finished 1-2 in the event and improved to 2-2 overall. The Vikings' victory came in the way of a 14-0 shutout of Wheeling. Sebastian Lekas and Derek Warnstedt each scored 3 goals. Tarun Pothanker and Tony Lee each tallied twice. Kenny Barry, Karsten Titze, Alex Smyrniotis and Matt Lichtenwalter fired in goals as well.
Christian Zukowski and Mitch Thompson each stopped 4 shots while splitting time in goal.
Fremd then lost to Niles West 12-5, as Warnstedt scored 4 times and Pothanker once in the losing effort.
"Stevenson's obviously the team to beat. (Coach) Sean (Wimer) has done an incredible job the last three, four years," said coach Brian Newby, whose Vikings finished 25-6 last year and won the Mid-Suburban West. "We played a nice aggressive defense against Wheeling. Our main focus is transitioning the ball."
Fremd fell to Stevenson 22-3 in the finale. The Patriots, who had 38 shots on goal, jumped to 12-0 lead after the first period. Maleski and Ginsberg scored 8 and 7 goals, respectively. Shashin, Ginsberg and Maleski were among many who also played ferocious defense. Day returned to goal and stopped 3 shots.
"We were a little sloppy at times, but the guys are excited to be back in the water competing," said Wimer, whose team was 28-6 a year ago. "We're just looking for consistency and trying to maintain a high level. The sense of urgency is definitely there."