The boys water polo season is back for the first time in over two years as Neuqua Valley visits two time defending state champion Naperville Central. The Redhawks edged the Wildcats in the sectional championship back in 2019.
Central swinging the ball around early in the first. Nick Papala finds Dawson Strang near the front for the first goal of the game. 1-0 NC.
Neuqua responds quickly, Michael Leshock tosses over to Ryan Cercello who waits for his moment before firing the equalizer in for the goal.
Still in the first and it’s the water polo version of a one-timer as Strang hits Nathan Lueken for the goal as the Redhawks go up 2-1.
Opening period winding down and we see a really nice give and go that ends with a goal from junior Steven Mander. 3-1 Central leads after one.
Into the second and Neuqua trails 4-1. A skip pass from Jimmy Senese to Michael Leshock who fires home his second goal. Wildcats down 4-2.
More good ball movement from the Redhawks as Codo passes to Lueken for his second goal to push the Central lead back up to three.
Wildcats need to score to keep pace, feeding Michael Leshock is a good strategy. Cercello drops a pass to Leshock who scores once again to make it a 5-3 game at halftime.
Into the second half, Central up 6-3. Senior captain Owen Codo with a pass back to Luca Trankina who gathers and scores to push the lead to 7-3. Danger time for Neuqua.
A great effort from Leshock as his first shot attempt is blocked, but he sticks with it, spins and fires in yet another goal. Wildcats still have life down 8-4 heading to the 4th.
But too much Redhawk offense, Jacob Wick to Owen Codo who makes an incredible backhanded no look shot to put the exclamation point on the Naperville Central victory. Great to see the boys water polo season back in action as the Redhawks top Neuqua Valley 9-4.
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