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The Homer Horizon 041218

38 | April 12, 2018 |

38 | April 12, 2018 | The Homer Horizon sports homerhorizon.com Porters overcome early three-goal deficit to beat Hinsdale Central Six players score in team’s 17-8 win Randy Whalen Freelance Reporter A season of improvement continued last week for the Lockport Township girls water polo team. The Porters got a pair of big wins and continued to make a splash this season. In the first of these wins, they showed they could turn it on offensively and play tenacious defense, as they rallied from an early three-goal deficit to hammer Hinsdale Central 17-8 on April 3 at Lockport. With the win, Lockport (6-3 at that point) already reached half the number of victories it had all of last season, when it finished 12- 17. The Porters hope to at least reverse that record this season as they continue to improve. “We just work better together,” sophomore Emily Plaszewski said of the difference of this season’s team. “We’ve communicated better and made better passes. Plus, everyone can score.” A half-dozen players scored for the Porters against Hinsdale Central. Plaszewski and senior Kennedy Ruther led the way with five goals apiece. Senior Emily Adelman, junior Francesca Brunetti and senior Riley Klimek each added a pair of goals, while junior Sarah Pawlik also tallied once. Junior goal keeper Kaya Nasinska made nine saves. While things started out well with a pair of goals for Lockport, they soon turned, as the Red Devils scored three times in the final two minutes of the first quarter to take a 3-2 lead. When senior Helen Smith (2 goals) and freshman Katrina Geiersbach (3 goals) tallied twice to open the second quarter, the Porters called a timeout with 5:04 left in the half. “One of the things we’ve been working on is making adjustments in games, and obviously, an adjustment had to be made,” Lockport coach Rick De Leon said of what happened during the key timeout. “I went to the bench, and the girls made the adjustments. Our passes got faster, and we have plenty of shooters.” Brunetti started the goal parade with a score on a breakaway lob over the head of senior goalkeeper Antonia Ioannou. Ruther routed her way for two goals, Adelman scored from long range, Ruther rammed another home and Brunetti broke away for another goal with 16 seconds left in the half to put the Porters ahead 8-5 at intermission. “Emily and Kennedy work well together,” De Leon said. “Things opened up for us [in the second quarter] when we had were shooting in the deep end and had more time to take the goalie.” Three more Porter goals opened the third quarter before Hinsdale Central scored for the first time in nearly nine minutes on a breakaway by senior Sophia Jones. But Adelman’s aim from threefourths of the way across the pool for a goal with only four seconds left gave Lockport a 15-7 lead after three. The Red Devils (4-5) also received goals from seniors Maddie Fowler and Maggie Neil. “The girls are transferring a lot of their skills this season, and a huge thing has been communicating,” De Leon said. “There’s a lot of consistency there, and that bond they have is huge for us.” Brunetti agreed. “We’ve been playing together a long time, and we’re definitely ranked higher than ever,” Brunetti said of the Porters’ No. 26 ranking at www.illpolo.com. We feel we can make it past the first games of the sectional. Once we get in a rhythm, we have Lockport’s Kennedy Ruther keeps her focus on the ball during her team’s win over Hinsdale Central April 2 at LTHS’s East Campus pool. Adam Jomant/22nd Century Media to keep it going.” Since the inception of the Porter program, they have made the sectional semifinals twice. That was in 2012 and 2013. Lockport ended last week on Thursday, April 5, by traveling to St. Charles East for another nonconference matchup against a team ranked five spots ahead of them. There, the Porters hung on for a big 10-9 win. Ruther led the way with five goals, while Plaszewski and senior Kayley Uy each had five steals. Nasinska made 14 saves, as the Porters (7-3) pulled out the big win. St. Charles East (7-4-1) scored the final two goals but couldn’t get the equalizer. “Yes, this was a huge win,” De Leon said following the St. Charles East victory. “We won each swim off, led each quarter and played great defense. We were up 10-7 in the fourth quarter, and they scored two goals in the last two minutes, but we held on.” This week brought a couple of key SouthWest Suburban Conference games, as the Porters were to travel to Lincoln-Way Central on Tuesday, April 10, and play Lincoln-Way East at 5 p.m. Thursday, April 12, at home. Strike Out Cancer 2018 to be April 14 for LTHS baseball, softball Staff Report The Lockport Township High School baseball and softball programs will be hosting their annual Strike Out Cancer games Saturday, April 14. This will be the seventh annual Strike Out Cancer event, with all proceeds raised during the day once again going to Make Your Mark - The Mark Staehely Pediatric Cancer Foundation. There will be a total of 13 games April 14 on the A-Field complex. The address for the Lockport varsity baseball and softball fields is 1200 Garfield St. in Lockport. Attendees can stay for one or all games. Last year’s Strike Out Cancer Games raised $11,500 for the foundation. Admission for this year will be $10 for adults; $7 for students with ID, seniors and children under age 10; and free for children under age 5. The Booster Clubs will also be raffling off items, with all proceeds going to the foundation. All players from Minooka, Lockport and Downers Grove will be wearing special shirts honoring a family member or loved one who has battled or who currently is battling cancer. For more information, including the full schedule for both sports on all levels, visit drive.google.com/ file/d/1kOBSRpKBQV_6c FfUVXQQNOWYdN2SzI kZ/view?usp=sharing.

homerhorizon.com Sports the Homer Horizon | April 12, 2018 | 39 fastbreak Boys Volleyball Lockport notches pair of victories last week over Joliet Catholic, Oak Forest 1st and 3 Adam Jomant/ 22nd Century Media LTHS girls water polo shows its ability in decisive victory over Red Devils 1. Staging a rally The Lockport girls water polo team fell behind Hinsdale Central by three goals early before winning 17-8 April 3 at its home pool. 2. Plenty of scoring The Porters had six scorers in the match versus Hinsdale Central, led by Emily Plaszewski and Kennedy Ruther, who had five goals apiece. 3. Sustaining momentum Following the Hinsdale Central win, the team played St. Charles East Thursday, April 5, on the road, taking care of business and winning 10-9 against a squad ranked five spots ahead of them. Four seniors help guide young team through season Randy Whalen Freelance Reporter Last season, the Lockport Township boys volleyball team lost six matches. After 11 matches this season, Lockport had lost six times. But that doesn’t matter, as the Porters feel they are a better team because of it. “We could be 18-18, but if we’re putting up regional and sectional titles, it doesn’t matter,” Lockport coach Nick Mraz said of his team’s goals for the end of the season. The Porters had a tough go of it March 30 and 31 at the Wheaton-Warrenville South Tiger Classic. There, they hoped to break through with a good performance in their first season in the prestigious tournament. Instead, they lost their first four matches to fall to a losing record for the first time this late in the season since 2013. But they rallied for a 25-19, 25-21 victory over Andrew in the final match of the tourney. Then Lockport returned to its winning ways last week with a pair of victories, including kicking it off with a 25-13, 25-20 victory over Joliet Catholic Academy on April 2 to get back over the .500 mark for “It’s been a long process. Now, we just have to prove what we have, and that’s what this year is all about.” Anthony Pfeiffer — Lockport senior volleyball player, on the team coming together this season what they hope is for good. “We just had to use that invite to grow, since we competed with the best of the state,” Mraz said of the Tiger Classic. “Three of our four losses there went to three sets, and two of those three were 23-25. So we were right there, and that’s just going to make us that much better. “Our schedule is very tough to start the year, but now as we move forward, there should be some confidence there. This is a quality area, so every night will be tough, but I thought we played well [against JCA] and played with some confidence and finished better.” After cruising in the opener against JCA, the Porters jumped out to an 18-8 lead in the second set and looked to cruise again. The Hilltoppers (3-4), who have a new coach in Lockport resident Ryan Vozenilek, didn’t go quietly, as they fought back to within 23-20. But Lockport scored the final two points, including the match winner on a push kill by senior setter/ opposite side hitter Anthony Pfeiffer (9 assists, 7 kills, 5 aces). “We got to play really high-level teams, which was great,” Pfeiffer said of the WWS Tournament. “We lost some, but it was always close, so I feel like with more practice and playing other competitive teams, that we’ll move our level up with them. It’s good to get matches like that out of the way in the beginning, because good teams exposed our weaknesses. I’m happy that we’re finally getting recognition. “It’s been a long process. Now, we just have to prove what we have, and that’s what this year is all about. Everyone cares about the team, since they want us to do our best.” Junior Samien Alvarez, along with senior Kyle Dixon, each had three kills at outside hitter for Lockport in the JCA match. Sophomore Jacob Prince contributed seven assists from his newly found setter position. Senior outside hitter Patrick Surane added eight digs. Middle/ opposite side hitter Michael Palumbo is the other senior for the Porters. “We had a lot of good things going and went three games with some super good teams, but couldn’t finish the games.” Surane said of the Porters at the WWS Tourney. “There were some lulls in our offense, defense and servereceive that we need to fix. But it gave us a good look at who the best teams are, and seeing that we could compete with [Lincoln-Way] East [25- 22, 23-25, 25-16 loss to the eventual third-place Griffins in pool play on March 30] was promising. “We have a lot of young guys [6 juniors, 2 sophomores and a freshman], so after a few more practices and more games, our team will come together a lot better. We have a lot of good power hitters, so if we can get our serve-receive down, we’ll be hard to stop.” Even with its 31 wins last year, Lockport didn’t win a regional. Lincoln-Way Central knocked the Porters out in the regional title match 17-25, 25-15, 25-20 at Plainfield Central. The four seniors remember that and would love to get the program’s first regional title since 2004 on their home court at the end of May. “This is it for these four, and they want to finish the job,” Mraz said. “It doesn’t seem like it, but we are a young team, since we only have four seniors. It’s just those four seniors are a big part of the team, and they’ve played on some great teams. So, they’re going to be passing the torch and want to make sure that they end this year strong, so that’s extra motivation. They expect to win — not hope to win — and are angry that we aren’t where we should be. That stuff goes a long way.” Later in the week, on April 4, the Porters traveled to Oak Forest and came away with a 25-18, 25-22 victory. Lockport (8-6) was led by Dixon (9 kills) and Prince (4 aces, 6 assists). It was the latest in a matchup of old coaching friends. Mraz and Bengals coach Lee Rucinski, who also coaches the Tinley Park girls volleyball team, coached together at Oak Forest seven years ago. This is now the fifth year they have coached against each other. This week, Lockport was to host Plainfield South on April 9 and was scheduled to travel to Richards for another monconference matchup at 5:30 p.m. on April 11. This Saturday, April 14, is to bring a trip to Streamwood High School for the Sabre Invite, starting at 9 a.m. Next week, the Porters have a special match at 6 p.m. on Thursday, April 19, as they face Joliet West at Lewis University in Romeoville. LISTEN UP “We just work better together. We’ve communicated better and made better passes. Plus, everyone can score.” Emily Plaszewski — Lockport sophomore girls water polo player, on the difference of this season’s improved team Tune In Girls Water Polo Testing the waters — 5 p.m. Thursday, April 12, vs. Lincoln-Way East • The Porters girls water polo team welcomes the Griffins to town. Index 36 - This Week In 35- Athlete of the Week FASTBREAK is compiled by Editor Thomas Czaja, tom@homerhorizon.com.

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