Boys water polo: It's a first for Stevenson

  • Stevenson's Justin Ginsberg celebrates with his teammates after scoring the winning goal in overtime during the boys water polo state title match against New Trier at Stevenson on Saturday.

    Stevenson's Justin Ginsberg celebrates with his teammates after scoring the winning goal in overtime during the boys water polo state title match against New Trier at Stevenson on Saturday. Joe Lewnard | Staff Photographer

  • Stevenson's Justin Ginsberg, left, who scored the winning goal, and Dan Maleski celebrate the team's state title-game victory over New Trier on Saturday at Stevenson.

    Stevenson's Justin Ginsberg, left, who scored the winning goal, and Dan Maleski celebrate the team's state title-game victory over New Trier on Saturday at Stevenson. Joe Lewnard | Staff Photographer

  • Eric Osuch celebrates after the Patriots' triumph.

    Eric Osuch celebrates after the Patriots' triumph. Joe Lewnard | Staff Photographer

  • Stevenson's Andrew Shashin, left, and Collin Kapecki hold the state championship trophy as they jump into the pool with their teammates following a 10-9, overtime victory against New Trier at Stevenson on Saturday.

    Stevenson's Andrew Shashin, left, and Collin Kapecki hold the state championship trophy as they jump into the pool with their teammates following a 10-9, overtime victory against New Trier at Stevenson on Saturday. Joe Lewnard | Staff Photographer

  • Stevenson players celebrate their state championship following an overtime victory against New Trier at Stevenson on Saturday.

    Stevenson players celebrate their state championship following an overtime victory against New Trier at Stevenson on Saturday. Joe Lewnard | Staff Photographer

  • Stevenson's Andrew Shashin celebrates a goal during the boys water polo state championship game against New Trier on Saturday at Stevenson.

    Stevenson's Andrew Shashin celebrates a goal during the boys water polo state championship game against New Trier on Saturday at Stevenson. Joe Lewnard | Staff Photographer

  • New Trier goalkeeper Cole Maizel is unable to stop a shot by Stevenson's Rahul Arun during the boys water polo state title game on Saturday at Stevenson.

    New Trier goalkeeper Cole Maizel is unable to stop a shot by Stevenson's Rahul Arun during the boys water polo state title game on Saturday at Stevenson. Joe Lewnard | Staff Photographer

  • Stevenson's Dan Maleski celebrates a goal during the boys water polo state title game against New Trier on Saturday at Stevenson.

    Stevenson's Dan Maleski celebrates a goal during the boys water polo state title game against New Trier on Saturday at Stevenson. Joe Lewnard | Staff Photographer

  • Stevenson goalkeeper Charlie Day makes a save during the boys water polo state titel game against New Trier on Saturday at Stevenson.

    Stevenson goalkeeper Charlie Day makes a save during the boys water polo state titel game against New Trier on Saturday at Stevenson. Joe Lewnard | Staff Photographer

 
By John Phelps
Daily Herald Correspondent
Updated 5/20/2017 11:09 PM

It wasn't the shot he preferred, but with a state title on the line, Justin Ginsberg didn't hesitate.

The junior utility player's lob shot over New Trier's goalie with 1:30 left in the sudden death period that followed overtime produced a wild 10-9 Stevenson victory, the program's first state title in boys water polo, on Saturday evening at Stevenson.

 

"To be frank, I'm not real comfortable with that lob shot," said Ginsberg, who finished with a hat trick. "It was just the right shot for that moment. But this is amazing. We've worked so hard and it's ridiculous how we've battled through the season and come back like we did tonight."

It was actually Ginsberg's goal with 1:28 left in the second three-minute overtime session that knotted the game and forced the sudden death period.

A little winded from an emotional 13-7 victory over nemesis Naperville Central in the semis earlier in the day, Stevenson wasn't, well, typical Stevenson.

"We came out a little flat," said Patriots coach Sean Wimer, whose guys capped off a perfect 36-0 campaign. "But we reset in the third and won both the third and fourth quarters. These guys are so resilient and I am speechless right now."

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New Trier, ranked second in the state behind the Pats, staked itself to a 2-1 lead after the first period.

The lone Stevenson goal was scored by senior attacker Rahul Arun with 1:37 left.

Stevenson has only trailed in four games this spring, and New Trier was looking to uphold that stat after scoring 3 more times in the second to take a 5-2 lead at halftime. Ginsberg scored his first goal in the second period for the lone Pats goal.

Then Stevenson woke up -- and the defense turned it up.

The Pats crept to within 5-4 after Ginsberg scored his second off a nice feed from junior utility Collin Kapecki with 2:37 left in the third. Senior center Dan Maleski's goal with 5:05 left in regulation then drew Stevenson to within 6-5. The equalizer that forced a 6-6 tie and overtime came off the hands of senior attacker Andrew Shashin with 2:27 left.

Junior keeper Charlie Day made several key saves, including a huge block after Shashin's score, to preserve the trip to OT. Day finished with 10 saves.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

Earlier in the day, the Pats earned the trip to the title game by getting past Naperville Central. In that matchup, Shashin scored 5 goals and Maleski, Ginsberg, and junior utility Eric Osuch each had 2. Ginsberg also dished out 4 assists.

Despite losing seven seniors -- Maleski, Shashin, attackers Zach Hede, Varun Ganesh, Ryan Ginsberg, Ben Lauter and utility Rahul Arun -- the Pats look to be in excellent shape again next year when they returns three starters.

"This is a bittersweet ending, but it's been one heck of a ride," said Lauter, who popped in a goal past one of the state's top keepers in Kent Emden during the semifinals against Naperville Central..

Lauter dislocated his knee and for precautionary reasons has seen limited action.

"Yeah, it was too risky so I only played sparingly. But I love being in the water and I love all the guys on this team."

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