Boys Water Polo: Stagg takes control in SouthWest Suburban Red
The SouthWest Suburban Red boys water polo champion in 2011, Stagg isn’t ready to give up the title.
The Chargers put themselves in great position for a repeat Thursday, topping Lincoln-Way North 12-10 in Palos Hills.
“It feels good,” Stagg’s Juan Valdez said. “It’s like we’re where we’re supposed to be.”
Valdez (five goals) and Jihad Ramadan (18 saves) were the biggest heroes for the Chargers (18-8, 7-3), who avenged an earlier loss to North and need just one win in their final three games to clinch at least a share of the Red crown.
Patrick Budney and Kyle Mohan led the Phoenix (12-9, 6-5) with three goals each.
Ramadan was huge early, making seven first-quarter stops from the deep end of the pool as Stagg took a 4-3 lead after one.
“I wanted revenge and I came out fired up,” he said. “It’s good for the psychology of a goalie to get a few (saves) early. It’s been a dream of mine to win conference.”
North never led, but kept the hosts within its reach throughout.
Down 7-5 at the half, the Phoenix pulled within one twice in the third, but the Chargers had answers.
When Mohan scored in the hole to cut it to 7-6, it was Valdez with the response. After Budney batted in a rebound to make it 8-7, Fred Jurevicius (two goals) scored on a power play.
Ryan Petersen (two goals) delivered the dagger, scoring to make it 11-8 with 3:29 left in the match.
“We’re just playing better as a team,” Stagg coach Wes Gonzalez said. “(Ramadan) has worked really hard. He’s a great team player and a great guy to have around.”
Brandon Hadhazy and Ray Dunne scored once each for Stagg.
Jake Roberts and Collin Deering had two goals apiece for North.
“I was happy with how we played,” North coach Pat Shaughnessy said. “Stagg is really good. They’re the best team we’ve played.”