Neuqua Valley Wildcats are one win away from a boys water polo state title appearance as they hope to take down the 2017 state champions, the Stevenson Patriots. It will not be easy as Stevenson comes into the semi finals undefeated.
The Patriots get on the board first thanks to this shot by Drew Wangard early in the opening quarter. 1-0 Stevenson.
The Wildcats, who defeated New Trier in the quarterfinals to get here, quickly respond though as Michael Leshock battles a defender and gets the score to tie it up.
Later in the period, Ryan Cercello finds Austin Olson for a quick score to give Neuqua a 3-1 lead.
On the other end, Alex Dunn makes the save but Olin Kusevskis and tosses it in the net while under water. Stevenson knots things up at 3-3 late in the first.
After a Patriots penalty, Ryan Cercello gets a free shot and capitalizes. Wildcats pumped up to take a 4-3 lead into the 2nd quarter.
Patriots on the other end, Dimitry Kobet catches and flings a backhand shot into the back of net tying the game at 5-5 in the second.
Drew Wangard keeps it going for the green and white with another goal to make it a 7-5 game. Patriots with 3 unanswered.
Patriots goalie Alex Mitchell looks for a swimmer as the half winds down, and then launches a hail mary that sails into the net. Stevenson water polo now up 10-5 heading into the half.
The momentum carried over into the second half. Some quick passing gets Nathan Mossman a score to make it 11-5 Pats in the 3rd.
With 4 minutes left in the third. Neuqua’s Jacob Duncan finds Austin Olson for antoher score to cut the lead down to four. 11-7
Moments later. Michael Leshock battles for position, gets the pass and the score. Wildcats still trail by four, 12-8 with two minutes left in the 3rd.
As the third quarter winds down, Dimitry Kobet takes a shot from long range that zips past Dunn for a score. Stevenson leads 14-9 going into the 4th quarter.
Now up six, Drew Wangard gets the pass behind the defense and fires into the net for his sixth goal of the day, and the Patriots earn the 17-10 victory, advancing to the state title to take on Lyons Township. Neuqua Valley will face Lincoln-Way East in the 3rd place game.
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