The following digest provides the latest updates from the 2012 state
tournament and looks ahead to the remaining water polo action at Stevenson
High School this weekend.
Wall-To-Wall Water Polo Coverage
For the uninitiated, Saturday's state tournament runs from 9:00am to
9:00pm. The two boys' semifinal games get started in the morning, followed
by two girls' semifinal games immediately afterwards. There is a brief
break, then the boys' and girls' consolation games begin at 3:30pm and
5:00pm respectively. The state title games will be played at 6:30pm (boys)
and 8:00pm (girls). Follow along with our live play-by-play coverage from
start-to-finish on Illpolo.com. We will also be providing live updates on
Twitter as well.
Girls' State Quarterfinals - Focal Points
The following things/players stood out as focal points in Friday night's
ST IGNATIUS 9 STEVENSON 3
Focal Point: Suffocating Defense
St Ignatius went into the first game of the night with a game plan to not
let Stevenson get many quality shots on goal. The end result was a
frustrating experience for the hosts, who were only able to score one time
during the first three periods of play. Possession-after-possession for
the Patriots kept resulting in difficult shots or turnovers as defenders
like Rebecca Martinez and Tammy Stelnicki applied constant pressure with a
suffocating defense that led the Wolfpack into the semifinal round.
NAPERVILLE CENTRAL 7 MCAULEY 2
Focal Point: Team Defense
It can be tough for most teams to keep up with the offensive firepower of
Naperville Central. But in their conservative approach to their
quarterfinal game with Mother McAuley, it was their team defense that led
the way for the Redhawks as they advanced to the semifinal round. With a
top goalie like Julia Campbell, it makes perfect sense to set up a defense
that forces the opposition to settle for outside shots and other attempts
from difficult angles. That's exactly what Central did to the Mighty Macs,
who saw the majority of their shots knocked down by Campbell, who always
seemed to be in the right spot to make a save. That is in large part due
to the defensive setup for the Redhawks, who will now try to do the same
thing to St Ignatius in the semifinal round in what has all the makings of
a low-scoring contest.
FENWICK 12 FREMD 6
Focal Point: Resilience
One of the key reasons a team
wins a championship is resilience. The Friars showed plenty of that
in the game against Fremd on Friday, as they bounced back from 3-0
and 4-1 deficits to get past the Vikings and continue their quest to
defend their state title. The early signs weren't good. Fremd scored
on a lob shot on their first possession. An ejection on the Friars
led to Fremd's second goal, followed by a putback by Sam del Prado,
who was in the right place at the right time to make the score 3-0.
Even after Fenwick scored their first goal, Fremd's Emily McCarthy
scored on a bar-in lob shot from outside nine meters. It didn't look
like it would be the Friars' night.
One play signified what makes
Fenwick so dangerous (and resilient). With time running out in the
first quarter, Alexa Ovalle forced a turnover that led to Colleen
Barron's first goal. It gave the Friars all the momentum heading
into the second quarter on a play where Fremd could have killed the
clock and taken a three-goal lead into the break. Instead, Fenwick
scored three-straight goals to take a 5-4 halftime lead and that was
all she wrote...they scored three consecutive goals in the second
half before the Vikings could stop their run. It's that resilience
that has Fenwick one game away from the state title game.
NEW TRIER 9 LINCOLN-WAY CENTRAL 6
Focal Point: Mettle
The Trevians were in a comfortable position with a 5-3 lead over
Lincoln-Way Central at halftime. Their second half approach appeared to
focus less on getting down the pool to score and more on making sure that
the Knights didn't have a way to find the back of the net. It worked for
more than six minutes of the third quarter, until Michelle Dundek
surprised Trevians' goalie Hannah Caywood with a goal from outside nine
meters in the last minute of the quarter. Less than a minute into the
fourth, Danijela Jackovich put in her third goal after a steal to tie the
game at 5-5, and it looked like Lincoln-Way Central had found the solution
to the Trevians' defense.
Instead, New Trier showed their mettle when senior leader Erika Nothnagel
quickly responded with a goal on the other end to reclaim the lead.
Alexana Astor's steal led to a breakaway chance that Lindsey Siegel
eventually scored on, and less than a minute later and the Trevians had
reclaimed control of the game and there was no coming back from that for
the Knights. Nothnagel and Siegel each added two more goals to push the
New Trier lead to 9-5 before Jackovich scored a late consolation goal.
Boys' State Semifinals - Key Matchups
A closer look at the key players in tomorrow's sectional semifinal games:
LYONS vs SANDBURG
Key Matchup: Kovas Zygas vs Matt Veldman
Zygas and Veldman do just about everything for their respective teams.
Whichever player can influence the game the most will likely determine who
gets to play for a state title on Saturday night.
LOCKPORT vs LOYOLA
Key Matchup: Dan Oldendorf vs Charlie Dowdle
Oldendorf showed he has the speed, defensive tenacity, and scoring ability
to make a big difference in the outcome of Lockport's games. Meanwhile,
Dowdle is a natural scorer that can be a monster on the defensive end as
well. Which player will make the bigger impression on the second semifinal
game on Saturday morning?
Girls' State Semifinals - Keys To The Game
A closer look at what could help swing
the balance of a semifinal game on Saturday afternoon:
NAPERVILLE CENTRAL vs ST IGNATIUS
Keys To The Game: Team Defense
Both teams put together strong defensive performances on Friday night in
order to win their respective quarterfinal games. The Redhawks forced
Mother McAuley to settle for difficult shots that goalie Julia Campbell
was ready for, while the Wolfpack simply didn't allow Stevenson much time
at all to get many quality shots on goal. Something's got to give and
someone's got to score in this semifinal matchup on Saturday, but if last
night's overall defensive performances are an indication of things to
come, expect a low-scoring affair between these two squads for the right
to play for the state championship.
FENWICK vs NEW TRIER
Keys To The Game: Resilience
Fenwick overcame an early 3-0 deficit to beat Fremd 12-6 in the third
quarterfinal on Friday. New Trier gave up two straight goals in the second
half to allow Lincoln-Way Central to tie their game and claim all the
momentum, but the Trevians went on a 4-0 run to seal their 9-6 victory. So
we learned not to count either of these teams out at any point after
yesterday's games, so which team will have the ability to pull ahead and
stay ahead when they meet in the second semifinal game on Saturday?