Water Polo Wolves take the Win Against the Wildkits


By Danny Thompson

On Thursday night, the Niles West boys water polo team jumped in the pool to take on conference opponent Evanston Township High School in what proved to be a decisive victory for the Wolves.  West was rock solid on defense all night en route to a 12-3 victory.

The Wolves got on the board first and kept their foot on the gas, building a 3-0 lead by halfway through the first quarter.  Following a few more solid shots by West that either hit the post or were saved, the Wildkits managed to get on the board, reducing the gap to 3-1.  West had another good scoring chance towards the end of the quarter after a mid pool turnover led to an odd man rush, but the shot was saved.

The second quarter began with an impressive diving save by junior goalie Matt Lefler that led to a goal at the other end, giving West a 4-1 advantage.  Soon after, the Wolves’ stifling defense took away the ball again leading to a three on two rush and another goal, 5-1.  West saved an Evanston shot at the other end before receiving a breakaway opportunity that they converted on, bringing the score to 6-1 Wolves.

Niles West played airtight defense throughout the entire game, which made it nearly impossible for the Wildkits to get any shots off.  In the final minute of the half, though, Evanston was able to get one home, making the score 6-2.  With three seconds remaining in the half, Niles West completed a pool length pass that led to a score, allowing them to go into the half with a whopping five goal lead, 7-2.

The beginning of the third quarter was marked by some back and forth play with shots off the post and saves at both ends.  The Wolves first score of the second half came on a rebound goal after the initial shot was saved, bringing the score to 8-2.  At this point the Wolves defense completely took over, which lead to being able to gain possession in Evanston’s half of the pool and created a multitude of scoring opportunities.

Before you could say even say it, West was up 12-2 and forced the Wildkits to take a timeout.  Coming out of the timeout, Evanston got their best possession of the game so far, making clean passes and controlling the ball, but their shot bounced off the post.  The ball moved up and down the pool a few more times before Evanston managed to get one past the goalie as he was trying to corral a loose ball.  The third quarter, and subsequently the game, ended 12-3 in favor of the Wolves.

The fourth quarter was uneventful scoring wise, with neither team finding the back of the net, but it continued to showcase West’s impressive defense on plays such as a one handed rejection of an Evanston shot by a Wolves defender.

“We really focused on our defense against them.  We tried to be in the passing lanes which allowed us to have many turnovers.  The less shots they take, the more shots we can try to make on offense,” Lefler said.

Coach John Przekota offered a similar take on the game.

“We set the tone on defense which drives the offense and allows for a counter attack,” he said.

West looks to build on this victory for the rest of the season.

“It’s a win, it’s a good win, it’s a conference win. It builds confidence and we can learn from it moving forward,” Przekota said.