Boys Water Polo: Lockport defeats Stevenson to reach program’s first semifinalLincolnshire, IL 5/17/12 Stevenson and Lockport faced off in the quarterfinals of the IHSA State Boys Water Polo Tournament at Stevenson High School, Thursday. Stevenson's Mitchell Sokolsky (12) covers Lockport's Dan Oldendorf (21) as Stevenson's goalie Rob O'Brien (1) readies himself to block a shot.
| Rob Dicker~Sun-Times Media
Updated: May 17, 2012 11:29PM
All season long, Lockport coach Joe Lewandowski has been setting small goals for his team, and the Porters have continually reached those goals, forcing him to readjust the team’s aspirations, leading to the program’s first trip to the state tournament.
After Thursday’s 9-6 win over Stevenson in the Patriots’ home pool in the state quarterfinals, Lewandowski can set the goal of state championship for his upstart squad.
The Porters (22-7) never trailed all night, but never led by more than three goals, keeping the Patriots at arm’s length. They advance to Saturday’s 10:15 a.m. semifinal against Loyola.
“I can’t even explain it,” Lockport junior Dan Oldendorf said. “It’s huge. We’ve never even been in the top 16 in the state, and now we’re in the top four. It’s the coolest thing that’s ever happened to me.”
Oldendorf had a big role in preserving the win. Stevenson (24-9) kept plugging away, cutting the lead to 7-6 with 3:54 left in the fourth quarter on goals by Chris Hodges and Mitchell Sokolsky. Leading scorer Alex Shkiler scored the other four goals in the loss.
But Oldendorf put away two goals down the stretch to push the lead out to 9-6 and the Porters held on to celebrate the historic win. David Hir also scored three goals for Lockport.
“It was a really close game, and when it’s a really close game like that, anything can happen,” Oldendorf said. “Earlier in the season, somebody tied the game with two seconds left and we ended up losing. They were huge because they shook up Stevenson. They basically had to give up after that.”
Chris Neylon helped keep the Patriots at bay defensively and goalie Matt Yeager, who has endured illness and injuries all season, came up with 14 saves, several of which were of the spectacular variety.
“He reads the ball so well on that first shot,” Lewandowski said. “He’s just naturally there where the ball is at. He’s been doing this since freshman year. It was sick. This kid is amazing.”
Lockport will face Loyola, a team the Porters lost to 15-4 earlier this season, in the semifinals.
“There’s four teams left, and we’re one of them,” Lewandowski said. “The ball falls funny for everybody. I’m just happy to be here, and we’re back Saturday. We’ll get back at it and play.”