Game of the Week: Sandburg Dominates District 228 Co-Op Boys Water Polo Team
The Eagles used their athleticism to score early and often in a 19-1 victory over a co-op team featuring 10 players from Oak Forest High School.
Sandburg flexed its muscle–literally–in a runaway boys water polo victory over the Bremen/Oak Forest/Tinley Park co-op team Tuesday night in Orland Park.
The Eagles won 19-1 behind eight goals from senior Erik Niemeier to open their season on a high note.
“Our athleticism, I think, was the key to the game,” Sandburg coach Jim Caliendo said. “We’ve got athletes. If we can make them into water polo players, I think we can be pretty good.”
Sandburg was able to use its strength to cause turnovers and retain possession most of the contest. Bremen/Oak Forest/Tinley Park co-op had 17 turnovers.
The Eagles jumped out to a 3-0 lead in the first 3:30 of the first quarter behind three goals from Niemeier. Senior Cody Corradino scored two more goals and Niemeier finished off the quarter with another one, and Sandburg led 6-0.
Oak Forest High School’s Dan Minnich scored in the second quarter, but the District 228 co-op team trailed 12-1 at halftime. “They’re fast, excellent swimmers,” Bremen/Oak Forest/Tinley Park co-op coach Mike Collins said. “Our boys couldn’t keep up playing the run-and-gun game.”
Sandburg poured it on in the second half, extending its lead to 17-1 by the start of the fourth quarter.
“The boys need to learn how to play as a unit,” said Collins, whose team dropped to 0-2. “We’ve got a lot of kids on varsity that this is only their second year playing, so that makes a difference.”
Sandburg was happy to get in the pool with an opponent that wasn’t itself.
“After two weeks of practice, we finally played somebody other than each other,” Caliendo said. “So, we were a little confused out there, but we’ve got some athletes out there, so we were able to do some things well.”
Caliendo said the game brought to attention some areas that his team can improve upon.
“We need to learn how to play a little bit harder,” he said. “That’s an easy fix. You just threaten them with swimming or something.”
Caliendo also said his team was a little out of sync at times on defense.
“Defensively, we were a little confused on our positioning,” he said.
In addition to Niemeier’s eight goals, Corradino scored five goals for the Eagles.