Boys Water Polo: Brother Rice slips past Stagg
By Steve Millar For Sun-Times Media May 10, 2013 10:02PM
St. Rita's Charles Murphy (2) looks for an open teammate. | Paul Bergstrom~For Sun-Times Media
Updated: June 13, 2013 6:58PM
Last season, Brother Rice’s state dreams ended with an upset loss to Stagg in the sectional semifinals.
So when the Crusaders fell behind 3-1 after the first quarter in Friday’s rematch with the Chargers, the feeling was, “here we go again.”
Rice made sure history wouldn’t repeat itself, though, holding Stagg to just one goal over the next two periods and getting its offense going late in a 9-6 win in a Stagg Sectional semifinal.
“It was starting out exactly like last year’s game,” Rice’s Dave Jackson said. “We didn’t get flustered like last year, though.”
The Crusaders (18-10), who were led by four goals from Dan Birmingham, will meet Sandburg in Saturday’s sectional final.
Ryan Petersen paced Stagg (15-15) with three goals.
The match was tied at 4 early in the third quarter when Rice coach Chris Mulcrone called a timeout.
“I felt like we were just swimming up and down and no one was getting an advantage,” Mulcrone said. “We were able to come out of that timeout and take charge.”
Birmingham scored three straight times over the next two minutes before Ian Distledorf found the net to give Rice an 8-4 lead after three.
“I just felt in the zone,” Birmingham said.
Stagg jumped to the 3-1 lead behind goals from Petersen, Zack Amendola and Nick Amendola.
The margin would have been greater if it not for Rice goalie Cal Kennedy, who made five of his 13 saves in the first.
“With the revenge factor, I think we started with a little too much emotion,” Kennedy said. “When our defense started pressing, you could see it started rattling (Stagg).”
Matt Bachler had two goals for the Crusaders.
Top-seeded Sandburg rolled to a 15-3 win over St. Rita behind four goals each from Kevin Tunney and Mike O’Malley.
The Eagles (26-6) led 9-1 at halftime.
Charles Murphy scored twice and Eric Johnson once for St. Rita (9-21).
“It was our goal to get the lead early and get a lot of guys in the game,” O’Malley said. “It’s always a good feeling to get the whole team in the game and see a lot of different people score.”
Paul Fitzpatrick and Mitch Zieler added two goals apiece for the Eagles.