Girls Water Polo: Sandburg surprises Lincoln-Way Central
Sandburg coach Jane Caliendo was blunt in her description of the Eagles’ first meeting with Lincoln-Way Central this season.
“They manhandled us last time,” she said of the Knights’ 14-9 win April 3. “We don’t take that lightly. The girls were definitely ready to play hard (Wednesday), and we did. We outhustled them. I can’t say enough about Alona (King) and Lauren Olsen’s defense on Danijela (Jackovich).
Brittany Kamper scored four goals and King was phenomenal in goal as the Eagles kept their SouthWest Suburban Blue title hopes alive with a 6-4 upset over the Knights in Orland Park.
Sandburg (23-5, 11-1) denied the Knights (22-4, 11-1) in their attempt to clinch the Blue outright for their first conference title.
If both teams win as expected Friday — Sandburg visits Homewood-Flossmoor and the Knights host Lockport — they’ll share the crown.
“Sandburg capitalized on every opportunity,” Central coach Karen Desruisseaux said. “We don’t want to share (the conference title), but if we have to, it makes me feel a little better that it’s with Sandburg.”
After Jackovich (2 goals) scored to make it 2-all with 38 seconds left in the first, the Knights were held scoreless for more than 17 minutes, coming up empty in the second and third quarters.
“We watched a lot of film from the last time we played them and saw a lot of mistakes,” said King, who made 14 saves. “We came in with a game plan and we were able to slow them down.”
The Eagles built a 6-2 lead as Kamper scored the first three goals of the second half, converting a breakaway with 6:12 left in the match for the four-goal edge.
“I just saw the openings and wanted to keep shooting,” Kamper said.
The Knights closed to within 6-4 with 2:35 left after goals from Kristi Howe (2 goals) and Jackovich, but King made three big saves in the closing minutes — two on Jackovich and one on Liz Klock — and Sarah Dolitsky’s steal with 42 seconds left sealed the win.
Kaitlyn Randich and Cara Hays each scored once for the Eagles.
“You’re going to have these games sometimes,” Desruisseaux said. “We just can’t have another one like this next week (in sectionals).”