Sean Gripp

Senior Sean Gripp and junior Louis Grib can’t help but see the progress of the Lyons Township High School boys water polo team this season.

LTHS coach Doug Eichstaedt continues to record matches and practices for the players to observe and learn.

“There’s definitely some footage that’s hard to watch, but it’s necessary,” Grib said. “We can see what we’re doing – what we’re doing wrong, what we’re doing right. It’s really helping us together. And then just talking to one another, really paying attention and making sure that everyone knows what’s going on.”

After some growing pains with a relatively inexperienced lineup, the Lions enter this week’s IHSA Sectional, which they’ll host, with their sights on an eighth consecutive trip to the eight-team state finals.

The Lions (16-10) are the No. 1 sectional seed and open against Lindblom in the May 10 quarterfinals. The sectional final is 11:15 a.m. on May 13. 

Louis Grib

“We started off not too close at the beginning of the season and now we’re all together in it,” said Gripp, a third-year varsity player from Brookfield. “There’s a huge difference between the start of the season and right now. It’s kind of like a feeling of safety. People used to panic with the ball and now everyone’s comfortable. Even if we make a goal or succeed, whatever, there’s always something we could do better.” 

The Lions lost to visiting York 12-8 on May 6 in lieu of a West Suburban Conference tournament. It’s the fourth meeting between the teams with the Lions winning the last meeting 12-11 on April 22 after 14-4 and 11-7 losses.

“We’ve lost together. We’ve won together,” Grib said. “That [York victory] was very satisfying because a couple of weeks prior we lost pretty bad. The team worked really hard and put in a lot of hours in and out of the pool. It was really awesome to see us come back.” 

Another emotional victory was 11-10 over Naperville North on April 22. LTHS has three one- or two-goal losses, two of them to Fenwick.

“Beating Naperville North felt really, really good,” Gripp said. “We all know each other, a lot of the better teams. It just kind of feels good to beat your friends.”