Girls water polo: Win streak hits 30 as Stevenson ousts Mundelein
It's hard to remember the only loss.
It was back in March during the first weekend of the season when the Stevenson girls water polo team, minus three of its star players, fell to Lyons Township 14-11.
Since then, the Patriots have rolled off 30 straight wins, including a 21-12 victory over North Suburban Conference rival and second-seeded Mundelein in the Buffalo Grove sectional final on Saturday afternoon.
Stevenson, ranked No. 1 in the state for much of the season, improved to 32-1 overall. The Patriots will face second-ranked Mother McAuley in state quarterfinal action next Friday at 5:45 p.m. in Lincolnshire.
"We started really strong and that helped keep our momentum for the entire game," said Stevenson junior attacker Lauren Maloney, who popped in 6 goals while dishing out 2 assists. "We just have to stay humble and not take anything or anyone for granted."
Maloney took matters into her own hands early on, scoring the hat trick in the first.
"They have always played us pretty tough and they've gotten a lot better," Maloney said of the Mustangs. "But we have so many weapons on offense, and our defense was tough."
Mundelein trailed 5-0 in the first when senior attacker and George Washington commit Abbie Lukas and senior utility Amanda Garcia scored. But that's as close as the Mustangs got.
USC commit and senior attacker Claire Haas and junior attacker Kalista Tapas answered with 2 goals apiece for Stevenson. Goals were also scored by seniors Amelia Eastman and Eileen Hoang and junior Eleanor Michaud to build a 10-3 lead after the opening act. Michaud dished out 3 assists for the game, while Haas added 2 assists and 5 steals.
"The girls came out in the first and knew what to do," Stevenson coach Jeff Wimer said. "And our passing was crisp."
Stevenson was up 17-3 at halftime. Maloney and Haas scored two more goals apiece, as did sophomore attacker Shreya Sreedhar, and Michaud added her second of the game.
Junior Anna Mossakowski (5 saves, 4 assists) and sophomore Val Zlotnikova (3 saves) each played a half in goal for Stevenson.
Lukas, who has been a part of back-to-back 20-win teams, didn't want to see the season end.
"We came out stronger than we did a few weeks ago against them (in a 17-6 loss), played more as a team, and left it all in the pool," said Lukas, who added four more goals in the second half as the Mustangs outscored the Patriots 9-4. "It's sad that it's over but I have so many great memories. The most important thing I learned was how to be a good teammate, and that the core values in life carry over into whatever you do."
Mundelein junior attacker Ella Krauss will look to help lead the offense next year. She scored all four of her goals in the second half, while freshman attacker Adry Kasemets also had a goal.
"Our mindset was good and we left it all out there," Mustangs coach Mike Vukovics said. "We lose three main seniors, but we're developing other great talent along the way. Everyone's buying into the program and we want to keep building on this."
Mustangs junior keeper Hannah Stanley stopped seven shots and will be back in goal next spring. Junior attacker Cayce Parker and Kasemets will return to help lead the offense.