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Quarterfinal #1: St Ignatius 14 McHenry 8

By Aaron Brown


LINCOLNSHIRE, IL - Neither St Ignatius or McHenry had ever won a state tournament game since the IHSA sanctioned water polo as a sport in 2002. Something had to give when the two teams met on Thursday, and it was St Ignatius that took the bull by the proverbial horns to emerge with a 14-8 victory over McHenry in the first quarterfinal game of the state tournament.


One of the keys to the game for Ignatius' head coach Brian Drumm was to start out with a strong defensive effort, and the Wolfpack did just that, holding the Warriors without a goal for the first ten minutes of the game. In the meantime, Brendan Moore and Mark Alvarado did what they have done all season, leading Ignatius on the offensive end, as they combined to score the first five goals for the Wolfpack. And it was Alvarado that came up with the "big game" performance that helped carry the team to the next round, as he ended up scoring 7 total goals in the win.


While St Ignatius looked to be in control with a 7-2 halftime lead, the Warriors started to show the offensive ability that got them past Palatine and Schaumburg in last week's sectional games, as they kept pace with Ignatius in the second half with goals by Scott Dabrowski and Brandon Das. When Reilly Shanahan scored two straight goals midway through the third period and forced Drumm to use a timeout, it looked as if the Warriors might have a chance to make things interesting in the last ten minutes of the contest.


The timeout seemed to calm the nerves of the Wolfpack, as Alvarado recorded his sixth goal to stop McHenry's momentum. Even though Kyle Braun scored on the Warriors' next chance, Kevin Barth followed with another goal for Ignatius and it started to become clear that a five-goal deficit was going to be too much to overcome if the Wolfpack kept executing offensively.


And they did just that, as Alvarado recorded his seventh goal early in the fourth quarter, followed by Barth's third goal and 14-7 lead with less than five minutes to play. Shanahan added his fourth goal in the final few minutes, but that was all McHenry could muster up as they came up short in the state quarterfinals for the second straight year.


As previously mentioned, Alvarado led the Wolfpack with 7 goals, while both Barth and Moore tallied 3 scores in the victory. Giuliano Wrobel added one score in the win for Ignatius.


Shanahan scored 4 times for the Warriors, Dabrowski added 2 scores, and both Braun and Das each notched one score in the loss for McHenry.


St Ignatius will try again against Fenwick when they meet their fellow MCAC member in the state semifinals on Saturday at 9:00am after the Friars defeated Brother Rice 10-8 on Thursday.




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