BOYS WATER POLO: Glenbrook North, host Glenbrook South each go 2-2 at Titans' boys tourney
Depending on whether one is in or out of the water, perspective apparently can differ in the pool.
In his team's first game of Titan Water Polo Tournament last weekend, Glenbrook South boys coach David Lieberman saw a squad whose offense clicked and defense stiffened in a 9-3 win over Prospect.
One of his senior leaders, Sachin Patel, was looking for a little more, which has to make Lieberman pleased he's getting his points across.
"Although we won, in my opinion we kind of lost in a way because we weren't practicing (our) strategies and practicing those (fundamental) skills," Patel said.
"They didn't come to fruition in the pool. I wish we'd practiced them more and I wish we'd practiced our maneuvers more than what we were doing."
Patel elaborated on the X's and O's.
"I'm in the middle, co-captain Jorg (Yonan) is on top, or is at a 'flat' position, and then the other senior leader, Sam (Burman) is on the other flat position, and we kind of work on meeting me in the middle, getting open and then passing in," he said.
"That didn't really work out as much today because kids were driving in a little bit too much and creating a cluster in the middle. Definitely something to work on, something to improve on," he said.
But hey, they won 9-3, no matter how many point-blank stops Prospect goaltender Dylan Mace made on the likes of Yonan, whose backhanded delivery is hard to handle. Yonan's favorite shot whirls from out of nowhere with alarming speed.
"I love the backhand. It's either that or I'll drive in," Yonan said.
As things go for all of us, this a work in progress.
"We're trying something new, we're playing Sachin at set because we want to implement drives more," Yonan said.
"Usually when I'm at set I tend to not drive out as much because I'm more focused on getting the ball and scoring. I'm getting better at that, I'm working better with the team," he said.
Yonan's 3 goals led Glenbrook South against Prospect. Aidan Hogan, Alex Burstein and John Tirpak capped the scoring.
"We've been struggling on offense," Lieberman said. "Today we kind of found a little bit of that, plus we were also able to really clamp down on defense.
"We've had a lot of games where we've let them score, we've let in some cheapy goals, but today we were really able to clamp down and kind of shut them down, playing those passing lanes so the shot clock would just run and run and run. We would be able to then just turn the ball over and go."
Glenbrook South also won its second preliminary match on April 22. Patel scored 4 of his team-high 41 goals in an 8-6 win over Lane Tech.
The Titans finished the tournament 2-2, losing in Saturday's championship matches to eventual champion Palatine and to runner-up St. Charles North.
The tournament began in 2003, and had not been competed since 2019 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
"This is a great opportunity and we thank GBS for putting this on," said Prospect coach Brian Esposito. "Four games in two days against really good competition is nothing but an honor and a privilege to have, especially for our boys who can use the game reps."
Glenbrook North also went 2-2 and started fast, 9-2 over Hersey in the Spartans' first match on Friday. Joe Kapecki and Gabe Johnson scored 3 goals apiece in support of senior goalie Dylan Grinko.
Kapecki also scored 3 times in the Spartans' second match on April 22, a 10-8 loss to Palatine. On Saturday Glenbrook North lost to Lane Tech and beat Evanston.
Glenbrook North got some revenge against Hersey after a Mundelein Tournament loss earlier this season.
"Half our team was out due to spring break, so we were kind of down on guys. Even though we lost to them we came into this game with a positive attitude, knowing we could try our best and play as we normally do," said Spartans junior Josh Hyun, who scored 3 goals on Saturday against Lane Tech.
"We always come back, we always do. Fourth quarter's our game and we just focus hard and we played hard, and it showed."
The Spartans led 5-1 after three quarters and outscored Hersey 4-1 in the fourth. Hyun zipped in a left-handed rocket from the right side, while Matthew Gehrs converted a breakaway drive. Kapecki and Marco Atallah added fourth-quarter goals in front of Hersey's goal, scoring from passes by Hyun and Grant Feldman, respectively.
"Our team typically plays really hard. As the game goes on they play harder and harder, every quarter," said Glenbrook North coach Marty Gibson.
"A lot of that has to do with, they're good athletes, and they listen. They're very coachable, so I never worry about that ... I always tell them, they're very hard to beat because they never give up."
The coach said his team is still a little inexperienced, starting three seniors.
"I'm just proud of what our team has come from because in the beginning of the season we started out a little rough," Hyun said.
"We just came together as a bunch of friends. We work together because we're a tight group of guys, so that team chemistry definitely puts us together and makes us work a little more efficiently."