Boys Water Polo: Naperville North unseats Naperville Central for sectional crownNaperville North water polo players nudge their coach John Blumthal into the water after in their sectional title win over Naperville Central Saturday at Metea Valley High School.
Mary Beth Nolan~For Sun-Times Media
Updated: May 12, 2012 7:18PM
Just when it looked like Naperville Central might push past Naperville North to earn yet another sectional championship, the Huskies made key plays and it resulted in a dramatic win.
North’s 13-8 victory ended Central’s sectional championship streak at four as the Huskies captured the Metea Valley boys water polo sectional championship on Saturday afternoon in Aurora. It was North’s fourth win against Central this season.
The Huskies (30-3) advance to the state quarterfinals where they will meet Lyons Township at 5:45 p.m. Thursday at Stevenson High School in Lincolnshire.
North’s players and coaches were thrilled with ending Central’s streak.
“They’ve been up for a long time and it is time for a new era,” North’s Gianmarco Duin said.
The Huskies never trailed and led 8-5 entering the final period when the Redhawks (22-11) mounted a rally. Sparked by goals from Dennis Herron and Matt Reasons, Central closed to within 8-7, but North countered with a goal from Aaron Katz. Reasons answered and it was 9-8. Central stopped North and had possession when the match turned.
Whistles blew. One official ruled a foul against North goalie Michael Shabel while the other official ruled that Central had committed the foul. Central coach Bill Salentine called timeout thinking his side was going to have a man-up advantage with possession needing only a goal to tie, but the officials changed their call and ruled a jump ball. North won possession and closed out the match with four straight goals from Eric Curia.
“That was a huge call,” Salentine said.
Curia said that North needed the match to be close so it could bring out the best in the Huskies.
“We needed that as motivation,” said Curia, who led the Huskies with eight goals. “As soon as the match got close we got more and more fired up. We really worked so well as a team and we came through with it all on the line.”
Salentine said that Central’s inability to match North’s speed ultimately cost the Redhawks.
“We didn’t have the counter-attack speed — that real breakaway speed that we’ve had in the past,” Salentine said. “In years past, we’ve had guys who would have been able to keep up with a guy like Eric Curia and we didn’t have that speed this year. We just had to play more technical water polo and we couldn’t do that.”
Reasons and TJ Johnson each had three goals for Central. Adam Nyland added two goals for the Huskies with Nolan Roberts, Aaron Katz and Jacob Thompson each scoring single goals.