Boys Water Polo: Maine South’s Mike Dobben delivers at both ends of the poolPark Ridge Friday 4-13-12.
Maine South's #1 Brian Orzech goes up to block to shot during their match against Elk Grove Friday evening 4-13-12. | Kevin Tanaka~for Sun-Times Media.
Mike Dobben doesn’t get much attention outside of Maine South’s circle.
But the senior is one of the reasons why the Hawks are enjoying their best season in the pool.
Dobben’s play both helps goalie Brian Orzech on the defensive end and sets up players like Makai DeNeve-Arnam on offense.
“He’s not scored a lot, but he’s been great for us,” Maine South coach Chris Deger said of Dobben. “His turnover ratio is incredible.”
Maine South improved to 20-5 on Monday with its 10-9 win over Fremd. The Hawks head into this weekend’s CSL tournament on a three-game winning streak, but Deger is quick to deflect any championship talk.
“We are a little cautious,” he said, especially after watching his team lose two out of three games at Neuqua Valley’s tournament. “Nothing is assumed with us. We’re going into the final part of the season kind of cautiously optimistic.”
DeNeve-Arnam could become the program’s all-time leading scorer this weekend at Glenbrook South. The sophomore entered Monday’s match against Fremd 12 goals shy of the record.
But Deger knows DeNeve-Arnam wouldn’t be where he is without the help of his teammates, such as Kyle Christie and Matt Kramer. Christie is the second-leading scorer, but he’s tops in assists.
“He’s been very instrumental in our offense,” Deger said. “Kramer, too. But I can point to any guy on this team because they’ve all stepped up. That’s what is neat about them. They get it.”
The Hawks are the No. 2 seed at the league tournament behind New Trier, which beat Maine South 10-9 during the regular season.
Maine South plays either Maine East or Maine West in the quarterfinals Friday. The winner most likely meets Glenbrook South in the semifinals. The Hawks beat the Titans 7-5 earlier this spring.
At the Glenbrook South Sectional the following week, Maine South is the No. 3 seed behind top-seeded Loyola and New Trier.
“We are excited, and the players have a right to be proud,” said Deger, who helped start the program in 2009. “They are surprised with how well they’ve done, but we can’t think about that right now. We have to think about the little things we can do in the water to win.”