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  MAY 19, 2012

  State Tournament Digest: Volume II







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 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 quarterfinal games:



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.



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.



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.



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:



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.



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:



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.



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?






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