Both the boys and girls teams in Lyons Township High School’s water polo program were top-seeded in their own sectionals and lived up to their billing by claiming both titles May 22 and advancing to the state quarterfinals this week.
The Lions’ girls defeated Mother McAuley 14-8, while the boys rolled past St. Rita 22-11 in the nightcap.
The LTHS girls weathered early pressure by the Mighty Macs in the sectional final before gradually gaining control.
“Our effort was great. A lot of the things we practiced, we put into play and it showed,” said coach Megan Jacobs.
The Lions were led by junior Novalee Roberto (six goals, three steals) and senior Allison Cabrera (five goals, two assists, three steals). Jacobs was especially impressed with the tenacious effort Roberto displayed on both ends.
“Novalee has been our standout player,” Jacobs said. “Novalee executed in every way possible. … She was the engine behind our whole team, and Allison was also phenomenal for us.”
Defense also played a role as the Lions held Mother McAuley scoreless in the first quarter and to only one goal in the fourth.
“Although we shut them down in the first, it still felt intense,” said Jacobs. “You could feel the energy and fire from McAuley, but our girls kept fighting and pushing.”
LTHS (18-8) faces Naperville North in the IHSA quarterfinals at Fenwick High School in Oak Park on May 26 at 4:15 pm.
LTHS boys bury St. Rita
The Lions (19-4) used six goals from Jack Bradbury and five goals apiece from Jimmy Bolan and Lian Malas to pull away from the pesky Mustangs in the 22-11 sectional final win that sent LTHS to the state quarterfinals.
“Our balance was evident today,” said coach Doug Eichstaedt. “St. Rita is a good and physical team, and we were able to slow them down. But the key was our offense. Every time they’d score, we always had an answer, and it was hard for them to make any kind of run.”
LTHS’ depth also proved to be a decisive factor. With Malas and a couple of other Lions in foul trouble, other players came to the forefront.
“Sebastián [Pérez] stepped up with [three] big goals, Jimmy [Bolan] was big, and I don’t think Jack [Bradbury] missed any of his shots,” Eichstaedt said. “When we can be that efficient, that’s when we’re playing our best.”
The Lions’ defense also came up huge, holding St. Rita to three goals in the second half.
“Jack [Bradbury] was able to lock down their best player and made it difficult,” said Eichstaedt. “The rest of the guys followed, and it was a good team effort.”
LTHS faces York in the IHSA quarterfinals May 27 at Fenwick High School in Oak Park at 7 p.m.
Fenwick boys fall to OPRF
The Fenwick High School boys water polo team had defeated crosstown opponent Oak Park and River Forest High School twice in the regular season. But the third time was the charm for the Huskies, who rallied from a 7-5 halftime deficit to knock off the host Friars 10-9 May 21 in the York Sectional semifinals.
Fenwick (18-12) led 8-5 early in the third quarter, but they managed only one more goal the remainder of the contest.
“[OPRF’s] defense was phenomenal tonight,” said Fenwick coach Kyle Perry. “We weren’t clicking on offense, but OPRF played great and we couldn’t quite put the ball in the back of the net as much as we would’ve liked to.”
Wil Gurski led Fenwick with four goals and two assists. Peter Buinauskas added a goal and three assists, and goalie Brian Moore recorded six saves.
York ends Fenwick girls’ season
Fenwick defeated Maine South 14-9 in its York Sectional opener May 19, with Annie McCarthy scoring four goals, and Demi Ovalle adding three goals, five assists and four steals.
However, the season came to an end May 21 as Fenwick went down to defeat against No. 2-seeded York, 15-9. Against the Dukes, Ovalle led the Friars (11-13) with five goals, four steals, and two assists. C.C. Trejo added two goals, two assists, and two steals, and McCarthy had a goal and four steals.
RBHS girls fall in sectional semis
On May 19, the Bulldogs defeated visiting Morton 20-9 in the quarterfinals of the Lyons Township Sectional. However, RBHS dropped a 15-13 contest to host Mother McAuley in the semifinal on May 21 to finish with a 13-5 record.
RBHS boys exit in quarters
On May 20, the Bulldogs fell at Maine South 20-9`ion the quarterfinal round of the York Sectional to finish the season with a record of 12-11.
Senior Dayton Gaughan led RBHS in points for the season with 155 (111 goals, 44 assists). Other notable Bulldogs were senior Clayton Stewart (49 goals, 21 assists), junior Liam Matthews (40 goals, 21 assists) and senior Peter Kallas (32 goals, 34 assists).