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OP_021617

The Orland Park Prairie 021617

54 | February 16, 2017 |

54 | February 16, 2017 | The orland park prairie sports opprairie.com Providence sweeps St. Rita in Kennedy Cup semifinals Brittany Kapa Assistant Editor St. Rita’s fan section came in strong, loud and like a scene from “Braveheart,” complete with blue face paint. The team’s fans left quieter and much more reserved than they entered. On Thursday, Feb. 9, the No. 1 seed Providence hockey team took on No. 4 St. Rita in the semifinal round of the Kennedy Cup tournament. St. Rita hosted Providence at Southwest Ice Arena in Crestwood for the second game of the series. Providence proved victorious by the end of the night with a 2-0 win and swept the series with two back-toback shutouts. Ryan Iaciancio, of Tinley Park, kept his undefeated streak alive in the Chicago Catholic Hockey League with a 25-save performance en route to the team’s victory. “I knew it was an elimination game for them, so I knew that they were going to bring everything that they had,” Iaciancio said. “We prepared. We knew what they had coming in. Our defense played great and helped me get the shutout.” Iaciancio finished the game with a few memorable saves, one of which had him well out of the safety of the blue paint. Senior forward Josh Mooncotch scored the lone full-strength goal with 2 minutes and 10 seconds left in the second period. Mooncotch was fed a pass from Jake Vennetti, of Orland Park, which got St. Rita’s goalie moving and allowed enough space for Mooncotch to bury the puck in the net off a quick wrist shot. Jake Rott, of Orland Park, Kevin Horan, of Orland Park, hit a buzzer-beater goal Thursday, Feb. 9, to help seal the series for Providence over St. Rita in the semifinals of the Kennedy Cup at the Southwest Ice Arena in Crestwood. Photos by Julie McMann/22nd Century Media Jake Rott, of Orland Park, picked up a secondary assist on the first goal for Providence in the 2-0 win over St. Rita. picked up the secondary assist on that play. Mooncotch cited Iaciancio’s performance as one of the main reasons his team was so successful during the night. “He stood on his head,” Mooncotch said. “He’s been playing great the last two games. He kept us in and had two shutouts.” Providence’s second goal came at the very end of the third period, after St. Rita had pulled goalie Mike Iwaniec in an attempt to even the score. Kevin Horan, of Orland Park, made sure that did not happen with a buzzer-beater Providence goalie Ryan Iaciancio made 25 saves to secure a second shutout in a two-game sweep of the semifinals series against St. Rita. goal with less than a second to go in regulation. A common theme throughout the night for Providence was the team’s aggressiveness on the puck and the team’s willingness to make good plays. Defensively, Frankfort’s Jake Lawler was able to keep Providence’s offensive zone time up with a series of good keeps at the blue line. “We try and be as aggressive as we can, and if you get beat, we’re at least going to make you make a great play to beat us,” head coach Nick Iaciancio said. “Sometimes, we have a tendency to go too hard and lose our discipline in there.” The team’s aggressiveness resulted in four penalties throughout the game. Despite being a man short, the team was always able to have control of the game and the situation. Mooncotch was called on a crosscheck violation during the second period, and Providence was able to keep St. Rita from even getting a shot on net. “Our fourth line dominated play for a good portion of the time, which was a huge leg [up] for us to give everyone else a break, especially when you’re killing penalties,” Nick Iaciancio said of the team’s multiple successful penalty kills. The coach said he does not generally like to assign numbers to his lines but said Mokena’s Cole Kaup, Shorewood’s Cam Cutler and Orland Park’s Shane Horan all were essential in the success of killing those penalties. The team celebrated its victory after the game but with the understanding that its next challenge looms. Providence was slated to take on Fenwick in the Kennedy Cup Finals, and no one wanted to lose focus. “We know we’re playing Fenwick in the finals, and we know they’re going to bring everything they have,” Ryan Iaciancio said. “They haven’t beaten us this year. Our last game was pretty close. We know that [in] this final anything can happen. So, we have to bring our ‘A’ game.”

opprairie.com sports the orland park prairie | February 16, 2017 | 55 fastbreak Girls Basketball Sandburg’s regular season ends in rough loss to Bolingbrook 1st and 3 Mark Korosa/ 22nd Century Media Standout Performance 1. Maddie Giglio The freshman (ABOVE) won the allaround title Thursday, Feb. 9, at the Oswego Sectional. She tied for first in all-around (36.500), and won beam (9.325) and floor (9.325). She also qualified for state on vault (9.275) by tying for fifth place. 2. Patrick Brucki The Sandburg grappler was dominant at the Downers Grove North Sectional, claiming the title at 195 pounds to advance to state on his quest for a championship. 3. Ryan Iaciancio The goalie for the Providence hockey club registered two shutouts against St. Rita to help his team sweep the semifinals series en route to the Kennedy Cup Finals. As playoffs loom, coach reflects on difficulties of season Randy Whalen Freelance Reporter The final regular season game for the Sandburg girls basketball team was like a microcosm of its season — a poor start, a really good middle but fading down the stretch. That was the case when the Eagles lost to host Bolingbrook 51-29 in the final regular season game for both teams Thursday, Feb. 9, in a Blue Division matchup in the SouthWest Suburban Conference. It was senior night for the Raiders (16-9, 7-3), who started senior guard Jnaya Walker as a nice gesture, after she tore her anterior cruciate ligament Jan. 26 against Stagg. After Bolingbrook won the tip, it called timeout and removed Walker from the game. The loss was the fifth straight and ninth in 10 games for Sandburg (10-19, 1-9). To open the season, the Eagles lost 8-of-9 games. But in the middle they won 8-of-10, including the title of the Oak Lawn tournament and fifth place at Hillcrest, to climb back to an overall record of 9-10 by Jan. 4. It has been rough going since, though. “We were within [six] points, and then all of the sudden it was 20,” Sandburg first-year coach Nick Fotopoulos said of the Bolingbrook game. “That’s how our season has gone. A rough start, then we played good basketball. “But then our conference schedule hit, and it was a struggle. We’ve played a lot of good teams, and our record is what it is.” The game also unfortunately highlighted another thing that has plagued the Eagles this season: a lack of scoring. Against Bolingbrook, they had four players with a team-high four points. One of them was sophomore guard Natalie Stavropoulos, who scored Sandburg’s first four points. “I feel like we’ve looked too much individually to score,” Stavropoulos said. “If someone is on a roll, we have to recognize that.” Stavropoulos was that person early, as she hit a 3-pointer in the opening minutes for the Eagles’ only lead at 3-2. Then, with 4 minutes and 58 seconds left in the first quarter, she added a free throw to tie the game at 4-4. But Bolingbrook went on a 10-0 run to close out the first quarter with a 14-4 lead. Junior forward Jahari Smith (11 rebounds) scored eight of her game-high 15 points in the opening quarter for the Raiders, who tied Lincoln- Way East for second place in the conference behind Homewood-Flossmoor. The lead ballooned to 20-5 when junior guard Gabriella Smith (13 points) hit a 3-pointer with 7:08 left in the second quarter. The game was stopped at that point, as Smith hit the 1,000 career point mark on the shot, joining Jahari Smith — no relation — in reaching that mark. Trailing 23-7, the Eagles fought back, as five different players scored in a 10-2 burst in the final 3:08 of the first half. That narrowed their deficit to 25-17 at halftime. Things looked even better when junior guard Morgan McAuliffe (4 points) opened the third quarter with a layup. She was fouled on the play but missed the free throw, leaving the score 25-19. At that point, things seemed to be going Sandburg’s way. But it was shortlived, as senior forward Talia Edwards (9 points, 6 rebounds) scored seven points in a 15-0 run, which gave the Raiders a 40-19 lead with 1:50 left in the third quarter. “I feel like we don’t come out as ready as we need to be,” Stavropoulos said. “We need to push through it and play more as a team. When we’re playing well, we have a lot of confidence. But it’s hard when we’re not making shots.” Freshman guard Danyel “That’s how our season has gone — a rough start, then we played good basketball.” Nick Fotopoulos — Sandburg girls basketball coach Middleton literally shot the lights out when she hit a jumper from the left baseline with just less than a halfminute to play in the third quarter. The scoreboard went out briefly after that shot, which gave the Raiders a 42-24 lead — where it remained at the quarter break. It also started another 11-0 run that carried into the fourth quarter. That was the third double-digit Bolingbrook burst of the game. “We [are] competitive, but then we have turnovers,” said Fotopoulos, whose team had 18 of them. “And we’re offensively challenged. We missed a lot of layups and free throws.” Sandburg was 10-of-41 (24 percent) from the field and 6-of-14 (43 percent) from the free throw line. Senior guard Grace Bauer and junior post player Nicole Poole also added four points for the Eagles, who were out rebounded 36-26, and have scored 35 points or less nine times this season. If the game mirrors Sandburg’s season, then there was a glimmer of hope at the end, as the Raiders did not score for the final 4:30 of the game. The Eagles had the last five points. Junior forward Erin Greenfield (3 points, 5 rebounds) scored all her points in that span. “We think we match up well with Lincoln-Way Central,” said Fotopoulos of his team’s initial playoff opponent. “We wanted to work on some things in this [Bolingbrook] game to get ready for [Lincoln-Way Central].” The Eagles only have four seniors. They are Bauer, Megan Hardesty, Maeve Hennessy and Kennedy Sabutis. They had to be ready Tuesday, Feb. 14, when No. 10 seeded Sandburg faced the host No. 7 seeded Knights in a Class 4A regional semifinal at Lincoln-Way Central. The winner of that would likely face No. 2 seeded Marist (or its regional semifinal opponent) at 7 p.m. Friday, Feb. 17, in the regional title game. The winner of that will advance to the semifinals of the Shepard Sectional at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 21, against the winner of the Andrew Regional. LISTEN UP “I knew it was an elimination game for them, so I knew that they were going to bring everything that they had. We prepared. We knew what they had coming in.” Ryan Iaciancio — Providence hockey club goalie, on his team being ready for St. Rita in the semifinals What 2 Watch Wrestling — Feb. 16-18, at the State Farm Center in Champaign • Sure, it’s quite the haul, but to watch the Eagles’ Patrick Brucki try to complete his quest for a championship at 195 pounds, it may be well worth it. INDEX 48 - Athlete of the Week 48 - This Week In Compiled by Editor Bill Jones, bill@opprairie.com.