Boys Water Polo: Joe Shannon scores six goals as Lyons grabs first state titleLincolnshire Saturday, 5/19/12 Lyons Township's boys water polo team celebrates in the pool with the championship trophy following Saturday's state championship game played at Stevenson High School. Lyons Township won the championship, beating Loyola Academy 14-6. | Brian O'Mahoney~for Sun-Times Media
Updated: May 19, 2012 9:30PM
Lyons’ boys water polo team knew that just because they knocked off eight-time defending state champion Fenwick at the York Sectional last week that a state championship was not guaranteed.
The Lions spent this weekend finishing their coronation. They picked up the first title in program history, and the first by a public school in the 11 years of the IHSA state series, with a dominating 14-6 win over Loyola Saturday at Stevenson.
Junior Joe Shannon scored six goals in the rout, as the Lions improved to 34-2.
“I’m so proud of all the hard work the guys put in,” Lyons coach Doug Eichstaedt said. “It’s just awesome.
‘‘It was great to see our girls team do it a couple of years ago. It’s something that the guys have been working on and it’s something that can never be taken away from us. It’s something I’ll never forget.”
Lyons never allowed Loyola (28-8) to get into a rhythm. Two goals from Peter Dore in the first quarter staked the Lions to a 5-1 lead, and a 6-3 halftime advantage ballooned to 10-4 by the end of three quarters.
“Right away we knew we had to come out strong to win this game,” Shannon said. “It showed in the first quarter. We came out and all the guys were on top of their games.
‘‘We learned from [our game against] Sandburg. We were up 7-2 and we let them come back.”
Shannon was referring to Saturday morning’s 12-11 semifinal win over the Eagles. The Lions jumped out to a 12-8 lead early in the fourth quarter on the sixth goal of the game from Kovas Zygas, but had to withstand a 3-0 run before time ran out. Shannon added three goals in the semifinal victory.
Loyola cruised past Lockport, 15-6, in its semifinal match. Charlie Dowdle scored five goals in the win, the same amount he had in the finals against Lyons. Brendan Hulseman added three goals, and Tim Netzel and Jordan Hodur scored two apiece for the Ramblers in the semifinal. The second-place finish was the best in Loyola program history.
“All year we’ve been toughing it out,” Loyola coach Dan Hengelmann said. “[Lyons] gave us a good butt kicking a couple of months back, it was 11-1. We knew we weren’t going to let that happen again. We tried a couple of things, but they got the best of us today.”
Eichstaedt, a 1996 Lyons graduate, has been coaching the program for 10 years, and knows what the championship means to the school and the program.
“Being the first public school on the boys side to win an IHSA title is very special to me,” Eichstaedt siad. “It’s something that didn’t seem like a possibility, but 10 years ago we just kept building. We kept raising the bar every year. These guys finished it. It’s just great to see.”