Girls water polo: Plenty of support as Stevenson subdues St. Ignatius

 
By John Phelps
Daily Herald Correspondent
Updated 5/18/2017 10:14 PM

The domino effect was on full display Thursday evening in Lincolnshire as the Stevenson girls water polo team took one step closer to claiming its second state title in three years.

A tough Wolfpack club from St. Ignatius came calling in the third of four state quarterfinal matchups, but it was the second-ranked Pats who came away with a 20-9 victory and secured a spot in Saturday morning's semi final against Mother McAuley at Stevenson.

 

St. Ignatius came out blazing, with a goal by Stephanie Lopez in the first 11 seconds of the game and a quick 1-0 lead.

But this is Stevenson, and these girls can score in bunches.

Junior attacker Eileen Hoang will tell you.

"Definitely the domino effect. We support each other through the entire process, starting with motivating one another in warmups," said Hoang, who ripped in 4 of her 5 goals to help get the Pats rolling and make the Wolfpack's quick lead a quick afterthought.

"This game is physical but the mental game is so essential and we carry that over to the pool. We're constantly picking each other up and encouraging one another."

Sophomore utility Lauren Maloney punched in the equalizer 20 seconds after Lopez's score, and Hoang tallied her first of the evening to give the Pats the lead for good at 2-1 not even two minutes into the game.

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"We played good, solid defense and got a few quick goals," said Stevenson coach Jeff Wimer, whose girls improved to 32-2.

Meanwhile, Maloney and Hoang scored their second goals while junior utility and leading scorer Claire Haas also punched in two first-period goals to give the Pats a 6-1 lead.

Hoang then scored her fourth goal, Haas her third, and sophomore utility Eleanor Michaud tipped in a missed Hoang shot and Stevenson held a 10-5 halftime lead.

But like many times before, the Pats came out firing to the tune of 7 unanswered goals to start the third and all of a sudden it was 17-5 midway through the third.

Junior attacker Bella Greenspan and Haas had 2 scores, while single goals were added by senior attackers Fiona Gaffney and Julia Nicholson. Maloney also scored in the third, while Hoang netted her fifth to put the hosts well in control at 18-6 after the third.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

There were plenty of substitutions by this time, and sophomore attackers Kalista Tapas and Maanasa Devabhaktuni took advantage by scoring single goals in the fourth to round out the scoring for Stevenson.

"We feed of each other's energy and that's how we were able to pull away," said Hoang.

Starting sophomore keeper Anna Mossakowski was busy in goal to the tune of 7 saves. Junior Brigitte Lefebvre finished the job in the fourth with 3 saves.

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