Under the guidance of head coach Doug Eichstaedt, the Lyons Township High School boys water polo team has developed into a perennial powerhouse. This season has been no exception, as the Lions head into the IHSA state tournament this week after finishing the regular season 15-4, establishing themselves as one of this year’s favorites for the title.
“I certainly like the way we’ve been playing throughout the year,” Eichstaedt said. “Considering the lack of game experience over the last year, the players have done a good job of coming together as a team. We’re balanced with a number of players contributing offensively and defensively, and we’ve learned how to complement each other.”
Senior Lian Malas leads LTHS with 63 goals and 49 assists. Other top performers for the Lions include junior Jack Bradbury (51 goals, 14 assists), senior Jack Walsh (26 goals), senior Sebastián Pérez (25 goals), junior Jimmy Bolan (23 goals), and freshman goalkeeper Charlie Vik (119 saves, 24 assists).
Eichstaedt is especially pleased with how the Lions have developed over the season, given the amount of inexperience at the beginning.
“At the start, we took a utility-type of approach. We had a number of players at different positions and had different lineups,” he said. “Throughout the season, we’ve tried to get a number of guys involved.”
LTHS is the top seed in its own sectional and opens up against Julian in a quarterfinal on May 20. Assuming the Lions win, their next opponent would be Curie, which has already advanced to the semifinals due to the Condors’ opponent, Brother Rice, having to forfeit the remainder of the season due to COVID-19 protocols.
Should LTHS prevail over both Julian and Curie, there is a good chance that the opponent in the sectional title game will be second-seeded St. Rita.
“The boys have been playing really well, and there should be a lot of exciting games coming up in the next couple of weeks,” Eichstaedt said.
LTHS girls top seed in sectional
The LTHS girls water polo team, which finished the regular season with a 15-8 record, enter postseason play this week as the top seed in its sectional. The Lions face either Argo or Lindblom in a quarterfinal on May 19.
Should the Lions advance, they will face the winner of Kennedy/Richards in the semifinals, with Mother McAuley being the likely opponent in the final.
LTHS has received dynamic contributions from a pair of players — senior Allison Cabrera with 90 goals and 31 assists, and junior Novalee Roberto with 86 goals and 35 assists.
The Lions have also received notable efforts from sophomore Emilia Mladjan (57 goals, 14 assists), senior Charlotte Land (23 goals, 10 assists), senior Abby Guerra (16 goals, 17 assists) and sophomore goalkeeper Allison Schroeder (149 saves).