Boys Water Polo: Sandburg stymies StaggStagg's Juan Valdez (4) attempts a shot past Sandburg's Kevin Tunney (13) at Wednesday' night's match between Sandburg and Stagg. | Paul James Bergstrom ~ For Sun-Times Media
Updated: April 18, 2012 9:42PM
Trailing rival Stagg 5-4 at halftime Wednesday, Sandburg was far from pleased with its effort through the first two quarters.
“I was getting pretty frustrated,” Sandburg’s Matt Veldman said. “I felt like we didn’t come out as hard as we could. I was glad we had all five minutes at halftime to talk about what we wanted to do. We focused on getting everyone involved.”
The Eagles looked like a different team after the break, scoring the first five goals of the third quarter and outscoring the Chargers 10-2 in the second half for a 14-7 SouthWest Suburban crossover win in Orland Park.
Mike O’Malley scored five goals and Veldman four to lead the Eagles (17-3, 8-0). Juan Valdez led Stagg (15-8, 5-3) with five scores.
Veldman started the second-half surge by scoring inside. He drew a double-team on the Eagles’ next possession and dished outside to Anthony Bonnar for a goal.
By the time Veldman, Kevin Tunney (2 goals) and Stephen Zieler (2 goals) scored, it was 9-5 Sandburg after three.
“The momentum definitely changed,” Veldman said.
O’Malley quashed any hopes of a Stagg rally by scoring four times in the fourth.
“At halftime, they were mad at themselves,” Sandburg coach Jim Caliendo said of his players. “They came out inspired in the second half and I was really happy with that. We’ve got to have all six guys energized the whole game, though.”
The Eagles and Chargers entered the game atop the SouthWest Suburban Blue and Red, respectively.
With the win and Lockport’s loss to Andrew on Wednesday, Sandburg now has a 21/2-game cushion.
Mike Malecki made six saves for Sandburg.
Ryan Petersen and Nate Schaub each scored once for Stagg and Jihad Ramadan made 11 saves.
“We were missing two starters and we played really well in their pool,” Stagg coach Wes Gonzalez said. “We’re hoping to see them again (at sectionals).”