Boys Water Polo: Matt Veldman fuels Sandburg victory over Fremd
Updated: May 17, 2012 7:18PM
It took Sandburg a while to get going, but the Eagles survived an early Fremd charge in Thursday’s state quarterfinals and advanced to Saturday morning’s semifinals.
After falling behind 3-0 to the upstart Vikings, Sandburg rallied for an 11-5 win behind seven goals from senior Matt Veldman to set up a showdown with the state’s top-ranked team, Lyons, Saturday at 9 a.m.
“Nothing to lose, everything to gain,” Sandburg coach Jim Caliendo said of the quick start from Fremd, which was playing in the state tournament for the first time in program history. “I’ve been in that position before. It’s kind of scary, but it’s kind of fun too. We just needed to settle down. I think the kids felt a little pressure.”
Two goals from John Patrick French helped stake Fremd (26-7) to a 3-0 lead with 6:31 left in the second quarter. But Sandburg (28-6) scored four consecutive goals to end the first half and take a 4-3 lead into the break. Two goals from Anthony Bopnnar, who was fifth on the team in scoring coming into the game, were a part of that run.
“Those two goals by Anthony, those were just clutch,” Veldman said. “We’ve been waiting for him to step into that role all season.”
Veldman took care of things from there. He scored two goals in the third period and then the final four goals of the game after Fremd had cut the lead to 7-5 early in the fourth.
“(Veldman) took charge,” Fremd coach Brian Newby said. “We made a couple of mistakes here and there, which happens during a game. We needed to have a perfect game. We needed to shut (Veldman) down a little bit longer and it could have been a little closer.”
The Eagles made an adjustment defensively after Fremd’s quick start that helped them fend off the Vikings. After the adjustment was made, Sandburg outscored Fremd 11-2.
“What we did was we brought help from the top (defensively) instead of the wings,” Caliendo said. “We generally crash down from the wings, and their wins were eating us alive, so we kind of pressed them a little bit and came down from the top to help.”
Now the Eagles will enter the semifinals in the same position as Fremd was in Thursday, the underdog.
“The tables are turned now,” Caliendo said. “We’re the one with nothing to lose. That’s how we’re going to come in Saturday. We’ll see what happens.”