The following cheat sheet provides some of the most interesting details
pertaining to the upcoming state tournament, which begins on Thursday, May
17 and concludes on Saturday, May 19.
In my ten years of covering high school water polo in Illinois, I can
safely say that this year's sectional final games were the closest and most
contentious I have ever seen. Some quick facts about the finals:
-Five sectional finals were decided by one goal
-Latin beat Ignatius by four, but led by a slender 8-7 margin at halftime
-Fremd topped Schaumburg 6-2, but the game was scoreless after the first
period, 3-1 at halftime
-Naperville North beat Naperville Central 13-8, but the Redhawks trailed
9-8 early in the fourth quarter
-One game was decided in sudden death overtime (Fenwick 8 Lyons 7)
-Another game was decided by one goal (LWC 5 H-F 4)
-Heavy favorites St Ignatius earned a narrow victory over Lane (SICP 10
-Stevenson beat Wheeling 10-4, but the score was 1-1 after the
opening quarter, 4-3 in the third period
-Three relatively comfortable wins (McAuley 15 Sandburg 8; Fremd 11 Barrington 3; NT 15 Loyola 9)
-One blowout win (NC 18 Metea 3)
While it is true that the top two teams heading into sectionals played in
a sectional final, Lyons will have to forget all of that when the state
quarterfinals begin. Their opponent, Naperville North, might be the
toughest team they could have matched up with as a reward for getting past
the eight-time defending champs,
so we should probably expect the unexpected when the two teams get
underway at 5:45pm on Thursday.
Breaking New Ground
It feels good to welcome some new teams to the fold for the state
festivities on Thursday and Friday. On the boys' side, Fremd and Lockport
make their first-ever state appearances, while Lincoln-Way Central is the
lone girls' squad appearing at state for the very first time. Enjoy the
Welcome Back, Part I
Latin's boys team returns to the state tournament for the first time since 2006.
That squad took second place to Fenwick that season, with a lineup that
included Grant Wilkie, Jordan Himmel, Tim Wickes, and Stephen Wickes. Sound
familiar? This year's Romans team includes Eddie Wickes, Jacob Himmel, and
Parker Wilkie...can the younger siblings match or better their older
Welcome Back, Part II
Naperville North's boys team last appeared at the state tournament in
2007. They also finished second that year, so the Huskies will be hoping
the wait was worth it.
On the boys' side, only three teams that appeared at state in 2011 return.
Loyola, Lyons, and Sandburg are the only teams to repeat as sectional
Six of the eight qualifying girls' teams return to state in 2012. The two
teams that did not appear at state in 2011 (LWC & New Trier) play in the
Volume II: Coming soon...