Boys water polo: Palatine claims wins over Buffalo Grove, St. Charles N.
Palatine senior Jack O'Connell welcomed the brief fourth-quarter rest against Buffalo Grove on Saturday afternoon.
After all, O'Connell earned a break following a dominating effort.
O'Connell scored a team-best 11 goals in two games, leading the Pirates to a pair of victories in the Palatine three-team boys water polo meet on Saturday afternoon.
The Pirates squeezed out a 12-11 win over St. Charles North in their opener. Palatine closed out the meet with a resounding 15-5 victory over Buffalo Grove.
"When we build a lead, it's nice to get a break, get back in and score some more," O'Connell said.
Buffalo Grove's Alex Santiago scored 4 goals in the loss to the Pirates. O'Connell said the Pirates are building toward a run at the state championship.
"It's great to be back in the pool, and we have a great team," O'Connell said. "We all tried to stay in shape and dealt with a lot of adversity. I'm super excited. Last year was tough when COVID hit, so hopefully in a month we'll be holding a state trophy. We thought we had a good chance to go all the way last year. We're a competitive group, and all of us try to make each other better."
O'Connell, who committed to Westcliff University in California, is one of six seniors on a potent but young lineup. The Pirates showed their depth and versatility against Buffalo Grove, with five different players scoring a goal in the first quarter.
But O'Connell sparked the Pirates (8-3) with 5 early goals to stake them to a 10-3 lead at halftime.
"We all put in the work in the summer, and it shows on the scoreboard," O'Connell said.
Palatine coach Joe Grzybek said his team is motivated to make this season a memorable one, especially after the disappointment of not playing last spring. Grzybek said the Pirates were aiming to end Naperville Central's state-title run last season.
"We're looking forward to playing lots of good water polo this year," he said. "We had potentially our best team in school history last year that we missed out on, so we're looking forward to continuing the good results that we expected from last year.
"Everyone's eager to play and we're just trying to learn and get better. We think we have good pieces, but are trying to figure out how to maximize it. We have a very talented bunch. We're hoping to have a full season, so we get a chance to see what we've got as a team."
St. Charles North bounced back from its one-goal loss to the host Pirates with an impressive 9-3 victory over Buffalo Grove in the third match of the quad. The North Stars (6-3) jumped out to a 5-0 lead but the Bison cut the deficit to 6-3 by the end of the third quarter.
The North Stars scored 2 goals in the first two minutes of the fourth to pull away. St. Charles North coach Chris Cloy praised the play of Albert Buvary and Aidan Allamian.
Buvary led the North Stars with 11 goals, including 6 in the defeat to Palatine. Allamian tallied 4 goals in the two games.
"It was a good learning experience," Cloy said. "We knew the first game was going to be tough. Palatine came out aggressive in the first quarter. We played well against Buffalo Grove. This was a great opportunity to improve today. We're asking a lot out of Aidan and Albert on offense, and both did a great job today."