Girls water polo: Stevenson tops Mundelein, returns to Elite Eight

  • Stevenson's Claire Haas eyes the goal and backhands the ball for a score in the second period against Mundelein in the girls water polo sectional final at Deerfield.

    Stevenson's Claire Haas eyes the goal and backhands the ball for a score in the second period against Mundelein in the girls water polo sectional final at Deerfield. Mark Welsh | Staff Photographer

  • Stevenson savors its victory against Mundelein in the girls water polo sectional final at Deerfield.

    Stevenson savors its victory against Mundelein in the girls water polo sectional final at Deerfield. Mark Welsh | Staff Photographer

  • Stevenson's Lauren Maloney fires one past Mundelein's goalie Hannah Stanley in the girls water polo sectional final at Deerfield.

    Stevenson's Lauren Maloney fires one past Mundelein's goalie Hannah Stanley in the girls water polo sectional final at Deerfield. Mark Welsh | Staff Photographer

 
By John Phelps
Daily Herald Correspondent
Updated 5/13/2017 9:01 PM

There's a saying, "Don't be sad that it's over. Be happy that it happened."

While the second-ranked Stevenson girls water polo team posted a 16-2 victory over Mundelein in the Deerfield sectional final Saturday, that cliché fit Mustangs senior utility player Jessica Peterson to a T.

 

"We left it all out there and then some," said Peterson, fighting back tears after she closed out her four-year high school playing career. "We've had our ups and downs, but it has been a pleasure playing for this team. It's been amazing to be a part of our program, getting better every year. And a lot has to do with the dynamic coach (Mike Vukovics) has brought to the program."

Stevenson (31-2) advances to the state quarterfinals and will play St. Ignatius College Prep at 7 p.m. Thursday at Stevenson.

It's been four years since Mundelein has won a sectional but as Peterson said, this program is right there. Unfortunately for the Mustangs, they ran into Stevenson's juggernaut.

Junior attacker Claire Haas popped in her first of her 7 scores 20 seconds into the game, and the Patriots were off and running. The tenacity was there for Mundelein, especially early on, when junior attacker Abbie Lukas answered Haas right back with a score to tie it at 1-1 with 5:35 left in the first period.

A couple of minutes later, sophomore Ashley Carollo, scored to give Stevenson the lead for good at 2-1. Carollo was filling in for fellow sophomore Eleanor Michaud, who was nursing a wrist injury.

by signing up you agree to our terms of service
                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

Carollo also made an impact on defense, collecting 5 steals to go along with her 3 assists. Stevenson senior attacker Julia Nicholson made it 3-1 after the first.

"We were very patient and played excellent defense," said Patriots coach Jeff Wimer, whose girls finished third in state last year.

The offense started cranking it up, while the defense took over from the second period on. Haas racked up her other 6 goals, while junior Eileen Hoang and sophomores Lauren Maloney and Kalista Tapas each added a pair of scores.

Tapas filled in for starter Fiona Gaffney, who was attending her sister's communion.

Meanwhile, Lukas scored the other goal for Mundelein, which finished 22-12 after winning just 10 games a year ago.

"We put the work in every day, and like I said in our "Miracle on Ice" speech before the game, the girls deserve to be here," first-year coach Vukovics said. "We've played with tenacity and heart and don't hold back."

0 Comments
                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 
Article Comments
Attention: We are experiencing technical difficulties with our Facebook Comments module at this time. Comments will remain disabled until we are able to resolve the problem. We apologize for the interruption. We invite you to engage with our content and talk with other commenters on our Daily Herald Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/DailyHeraldFans/. Thank you.