Lyons Township High School water polo players George Lundgren and Sam Szczepaniak scored two goals apiece in the first quarter of the championship game against Styevenson, setting the tone for the Lions’ 9-6 win and second state title under head coach Doug Eichstaedt. LTHS won its other boys water polo state championship in 2012.
Along with stellar performances from Lundgren and Szczepaniak, who each finished with a game-high three goals, Nathan Henderson came up huge when it mattered most. With the Lions clinging to a 7-6 with 2:50 remaining in the fourth quarter, Henderson scored twice off a turnover and counter attack, respectively, to hold off the Patriots.
Tommy Kaptur accounted for the Lions’ other score and goalie Jack Linden for the Lions who finished the season 32-4.
The LTHS girls team also enjoyed a stellar season, finishing fourth in the state. The Lions closed their season with a 10-8 loss against rival Fenwick in the third-place game. Kaysie Stuba (four goals) and Caroline Walsh (two goals) led LTHS, while Julia Cohen and Emma Hirt chipped in a goal apiece.
Fenwick boys, girls water polo both finish third in state
Although the Fenwick High School boys and girls water polo teams each won their final game of the season, they fell just short of winning a state championship. That’s a rare season-ending circumstance for either program, considering the Friars own 29 state titles overall (20 boys/9 girls).
In Saturday’s semifinals of the state playoffs in Lincolnshire, host Stevenson swept Fenwick 8-7 (boys game) and 18-4 (girls game).
In the boys matchup, the Friars trailed 5-0 at the 5:56 mark of the second quarter. With 3:23 left until halftime, senior Danny Farmer finally scored to get Fenwick on the scoreboard at 5-1. Down 7-4 entering the fourth quarter, the Friars’ Ryan Masi scored two goals and Farmer added another, but Ryan Sashin’s timely goal enabled the Patriots to hold off Fenwick 8-7.
Fenwick finished 34-2 overall, with its two losses by a combined three goals.
“Overall, it was a good tournament for us even though we didn’t get the end result we were looking for,” Perry said. “Our seniors worked hard and had great careers at Fenwick.”
On the girls side, Stevenson topped Fenwick 18-4 in the semifinals en route to winning the state title 11-3 against New Trier. The Friars played the Patriots tough in the first quarter, trailing only 5-3; however, Stevenson went on a 12-1 run over the next two quarters to put the game out of reach.
Like the boys team, Fenwick rebounded well from its semifinal loss to notch an impressive 10-8 victory against Lyons Township. Catie Wallace led the Friars with a game-high five goals and Kelly Frumkin finished with four goals.
Considering the Friars (23-7-1) lost eight of nine key players to graduation last season, Wagner was pleased and frankly surprised by the team’s success this spring.
“At the beginning of the year, if you told me we would make the state tournament, I would have probably been a pretty happy guy,” he said. “We advanced to the semifinals with an opportunity to play for the state championship, but it just wasn’t in the cards for us this year. On the whole, I think it was a very good season.”