Boys Water Polo: Loyola survives opening scare by Latin
Loyola's Brendan Hulseman (7) gets a peice of Latin's Parker Wilkie (9) as he tries to block a pass. | Rob Dicker~Sun-Times Media
Updated: May 18, 2012 10:16PM
When Loyola’s boys water polo team jumped out to a quick 8-2 lead on Latin in Thursday’s state quarterfinals at Stevenson, the Ramblers were hoping the defense could hold the early cushion and help them cruise into the semifinals.
“It worked out, but it was a little too close for comfort,” Loyola senior Charlie Dowdle said.
The high-octane quarterfinal was cut to one by Latin with 3:45 left in the fourth quarter, but Loyola was able to tack on a Danny Stauder goal and hold Latin down defensively to hang on for the 14-12 win. Loyola will face Lockport in Saturday’s 10:15 a.m. semifinal game.
“It was important to get that big cushion,” Loyola coach Dan Hengelmann said. “Maybe we got a little too amped. We knew it wasn’t going to be a pushover. We knew it was going to be a four-quarter game. We were just hoping our defense would hold up.”
By the 5:12 mark of the second quarter, Loyola (28-6) had raced out to an 8-2 lead thanks to three goals apiece from Tim Netzel and Brendan Hulseman. But Latin (21-7-1) hung around. Three goals each from Jacob Himmel and Edward Wickes helped cut the lead to 9-6 by the half.
“Our plan was to take Wickes and Himmel out of the game, but they made shots,” Hengelmann said. “You tip your hat to elite players making elite plays.”
Loyola held a 13-9 lead after three quarters, but once again, the Romans came back. Goals from Dylan Levin, Himmel and Parker Wilkie to start the fourth cut the lead to 13-12 with 3:45 left.
“Our guys stuck with it, played their game and had patience,” Latin coach Noah Himmel said. “They came back and made a game of it. I’m extremely proud of what they did. I knew that they had it in them. They came back and made a respectable game out of it.”
Unfortunately for the Romans, Jacob Himmel fouled out early in the fourth quarter and they were unable to score again after cutting the lead to one.
Loyola advances to face an upstart Lockport team that is making its first trip to the state tournament in the semifinals.
“We knew coming into this week that this would be our last week,” Dowdle said. “But every day you can keep playing is a great feeling.”