Boys water polo: Demyanyk, Little lead Wheeling by Elk Grove
Wheeling senior Artur Demyanyk kept his head up while sporting a big smile immediately after Wednesday's road game against Elk Grove.
There were plenty of reasons to smile for the Wildcats' boys water polo team, especially after enduring several seasons without many victories. Wheeling first-year coach Tom Schaul said he's not sure about the exact number of wins, but he estimates that the Wildcats had won just "three or four games" total in the previous three seasons.
Maybe that's why the Wildcats, including the seven seniors, were all in good spirits following a 15-4 rout over the Grenadiers in Mid-Suburban League play. The Wildcats' Demyanyk scored 4 goals in the win, calling the rare blowout win a welcome relief after his first three years on the varsity, which also included missing out on his sophomore season because of the coronavirus pandemic. Three years ago, the Wildcats did not win a single game.
"This win feels really good because my past three years have been really bad, and it's been a struggle," Demyanyk said. "It was pretty bad. Back then, we were playing for fun, but we're really have a lot of fun now by winning. We've been working hard, and we have a good team now. We're all playing together and having fun."
With a physical build more suited to playing football, Demyanyk (28 goals) said the Wildcats (6-2, 2-1) are hoping to continue their magical run.
"Us winning these games is pretty great," he said. "We have great teamwork and communication and we've been sticking together. I'm trying my best. We're all feeling good. The season just started, so we will see how we do in conference."
Wheeling sophomore Gavin Little scored 4 goals against the Grenadiers to raise his season total to a team-high 45 goals. Senior Algirdas Pakronsis had 3 goals to lift his season total to 25 goals.
"We weren't able to finish last year, and we were in a lot of games, so it feels great to finish this year," Little said. "We're finishing and getting victories under our belt. I've been focusing on never hesitating and taking the open look. It's been a blast so far. We had great teamwork today, and our chemistry is so high now. It's a great experience to be a part of."
Schaul said the Wildcats' seniors are enjoying the breakout season after suffering a deluge of losses early in their careers.
"It's been great," Schaul said. "The seniors have only won three or four games before this year, so for them to have a fun and great year is so exciting for them. They just come out and do their thing. I'm really proud of the guys. It's great to see them smiling and playing great. They deserve all the credit."