Boys Water Polo
Before the season began, Sandburg coach Jim Caliendo had tempered expectations for a young squad, saying the Eagles “could finish third or better” in the SouthWest Suburban Blue if they avoided too many early losses.
With five conference games down, though, Sandburg (9-3 overall) is atop the Blue at 4-1. The Eagles’ lone conference loss was to Stagg, a loss they avenged Saturday with a win over the Chargers in the Naperville North Tournament third-place game.
Sandburg has big wins over Lockport (3-1 in conference) and Homewood-Flossmoor (2-2), despite Caliendo’s belief his team has yet to reach its full potential.
“We take a step forward and then a step back,” he said. “We’re inconsistent, but I think by the end of the season we could be really good.”
Senior Zach Roper has become the Eagles’ go-to guy offensively and senior Sean McNicholas has been solid in goal.
Sandburg has a big week ahead, visiting a much-improved Lincoln-Way Central squad Tuesday, hosting undefeated Andrew on Thursday and hosting its own tournament Friday and Saturday.
The odd match of past week arguably was Argo’s Tarik Abdullah’s 0-6, 6-0, 6-1 victory Thursday over Oak Forest’s Ed Young. That win helped the Argonauts to a 3-2 victory.
“The kid from Oak Forest came out guns blazing,’’ Argo coach Bill Toulois said. “But Tarik was awesome after that. He’s a grinder.”
Abdullah plans to play tennis at Dominican University next season.
▪ Saturday’s Lincoln-Way Central Invitational field includes Peoria Richwoods, Bloomington and LaSalle-Peru.
Lincoln-Way Central coach Jacob Riebe, whose team played Troy over the weekend, said he likes playing teams from around the state.
“I value the ability to play across the state in Troy, then having teams from throughout at our place to give our players a taste of the talent in tennis across the state. The ability to play these teams will only improve our games,’’ he said.
Reavis, which perennially boasts one of the strongest doubles teams in the Southland, lost to graduation both its state-qualifying doubles teams that led the Rams to a fourth-place finish at state in 2013.
The names may change, but the goals stay the same for the Rams.
Coach Cyndi Dyrkacz thinks her new doubles rotation similarly has a chance to make a run to state. Reavis is 6-1 in dual meets as a team.
“We have the skills, so we’re just looking for that consistency,” Dyrkacz said. “I’m happy with the girls. It’s kinda scary replacing all those girls, but this group has stepped up in some instances.”
Two seniors, Stephanie Cardenas and Anna Wypych, are 15-5 at No. 1 doubles while two juniors, Elizabeth Doory and Rocheni Calalang, are 17-4 at No. 2 doubles.
Doory and Calalang pushed a solid Buffalo Grove doubles team (that ultimately won the No. 2 title) to three sets at the Lockport Invitational before falling.
“When they went three games with Buffalo Grove, that showed the caliber of what they can do,” Dyrkacz said.