Naperville Central boys water polo holds off Neuqua Valley 17-13 in a high scoring clash

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Naperville Central boys water polo looks to get back on track in the DVC standings on the road against Neuqua Valley. Both teams are looking for their first conference win of the year before spring break arrives. This highlight is sponsored by BMO Harris Bank.

The Redhawks take the early advantage

The Wildcats have possession early as Alex Melone tosses a pass to Declan Puacz in a crowd, who whips a shot into the goal with the backhand throw. Neuqua Valley with the 1-0 lead.

Following a goal from Brian Schlessinger to tie things up, goalie Ross DeZur throws a well-placed pass to Henry LaPerna who spins and fires one in to put the Redhawks in front 2-1.

Into the second period where Neuqua now trails 4-1, but Declan Puacz is back at work with his second goal of the night. He bounces this one into the net to make it a 4-2 game.

Naperville Central is back on the attack as Ronan Barrett goes for the shot. Ansh Vasudevan knocks it away, but LaPerna is there to punch the putback home for a 5-2 Redhawk lead.

Later in the half, another fast break ahead for Central. Jack Gervase makes a fantastic catch and in one motion turns and fires for the goal. The Redhawks’ run continues with a 6-2 advantage.

Neuqua Valley and Declan Puacz begin the comeback

The Wildcats are not ready to roll over. Colin Mulligan tosses a pass to Geno Valente who spins and scores with the no-look backhand to keep his team within striking distance. Neuqua trailing 6-4.

Near the end of the first half, Neuqua is back on offense as Tony Newton finds Declan Puacz who quickly gets the backhand shot off and into the net before the defense collapses. The Wildcats enter halftime down 7-5.

Naperville Central looks to keep the Cats at arm’s length in the second half. Henry LaPerna with a quick underhand pass to Ross DeZur who slaps it into the net. The Redhawks leading 9-6.

Time winding down in the third period. Vasudevan goes for a full pool-length shot that is knocked away by Vinny Antonietti. But Colin Mulligan wins the race to the ball and the race against the clock as he bounces it in just as time expires. Neuqua Valley trails by just two, 12-10 heading to the 4th.

Naperville Central water polo pulls away from Neuqua in the final minutes

Early in the final period, Neuqua trails 13-11 when Geno Valente gets a pass and battles through a lot of contact to get his shot off and into the net. Six goals in the game for Valente. The Wildcats claw back within one as it’s 13-12 with under five minutes to play.

Central looking to maintain the lead as Ronan Barrett lobs a pass to LaPerna. The shot is off the post and it’s a mad scramble for the ball. LaPerna snags it and swats the ball into the net to give the Redhawks some breathing room. Six goals in the game for LaPerna.

In the final minutes, Neuqua looks to clear the ball but LaPerna makes the steal and passes to Barrett for the goal to seal the win. Naperville Central hangs on for a 17-13 victory over Neuqua Valley.

For more prep sports highlights, visit the Naperville Sports Weekly page!