CHESTERFIELD • Despite a new head coach and a big crop of green varsity players, the St. Louis University High water polo crew’s season opener ended as many have earlier than it.
With a victory over a St. Louis-place group.
The Junior Billikens built an excellent sized 0.33 area lead, withstood a livid Parkway West rally, and scored a couple of overdue dreams to drag out a ten-8 victory in a battle of the pinnacle Missouri Water Polo teams earlier than a raucous, packed house Monday afternoon at West.
Top-ranked SLUH has now not been misplaced to a crew from the state of Missouri since it lost to Parkway West within the 2014 Missouri Water Polo championship game, a span of 75 video games. You need to pass all of the manners returned to 2010 to discover the remaining time the Junior Billikens lost an ordinary season game to a team from Missouri.
The win marked the first for John Penilla as a varsity head coach. Longtime varsity head coach Paul Baudendistel stepped down from the pinnacle spot; however, they stayed on as a varsity assistant and head junior varsity educate. It was a position Penilla had held for the preceding 12 years.
“Looking at the timetable two months in the past, I wasn’t all that jazzed about coming here to begin the season, however, at the equal time, and it was a great hazard for us to look wherein we’re at,” Penilla stated. “I’m remarkable proud of the seniors and juniors who contributed nowadays. This is maybe one of the hardest locations to play as it gets so loud. It was a baptism via the fireplace, for certain.”
While SLUH turned into gambling its season opener, Parkway West (four-3) changed into gaming its 7th game because the Longhorns already have a journey to Chicago beneath their belts. The trip and dates with top St. Louis teams SLUH and De Smet have given West plenty of early-season demanding situations.
“There are a few matters we need to paintings on, but there have been at least a few hopeful signs,” Longhorns train Charlie Cutelli stated. “To be sincere, this turned into fun. The location was rocking, there were nice surroundings, human beings had been cheering, and it turned into a good sport of water polo.”
After winning its document 20th Missouri Water Polo championship last spring, SLUH graduated many of its pinnacle players. Two skilled palms that remained — junior software man Michael Kreienkamp and senior goalkeeper John McCabe — led the way Monday.
Kreienkamp, the leading returning scorer after a fifteen-purpose, 53-factor marketing campaign final year, scored five dreams Monday. His other recreation-high in goals were two.
“Michael is one of the guys I said, ‘When you play properly, we’re gonna play properly, and if we’re not playing notable, meaning you’re probably now not playing top-notch,’ ” Penilla said. “And he’s mature sufficient to understand what that means and not take delivery of that as a burden, but receive that as an undertaking. He’s a junior captain, and, as far as I realize, we’re in no way had a junior captain before. And it’s because he earned it.”
McCabe, who went 24-1 inside the cage final season, picked up where he left off with numerous sturdy saves, together with three huge stops in the very last minute of the game.
“I turned into questioning there on the give up that I changed into satisfied we had John lower back there,” Penilla stated. “He’s fired up. However, he’s always within the second, and he’s calm, cool, and accrued.”
Kreienkamp scored a pair of dreams as SLUH jumped out to a 3-1 lead after one quarter. He scored again inside the second quarter. However, Ryan Mendonsa scored the second one of his crew-high four goals with 5 seconds left earlier than halftime to reduce the Jr. Bills’ lead to four-three.
SLUH got here out firing in the 2nd 1/2, as Jarrett Schneider scored two times and Andrew Zimmerman as soon as part of an explosion of 3 goals in the first 2 minutes and 18 seconds to present SLUH a 7-3 lead.
After Kreienkamp extended the lead to five, the Longhorns went to work.
Mendonsa’s 0.33 purpose made it 8-four, and then a key play transpired as the 0.33 zone came to a near.
McCabe held the ball to run out the third zone clock ostensibly, but Alex Nozka compelled him and came up with a thieve. He then fired a shot into the cage just earlier than the buzzer sounded to cut it to 8-five.
A stimulated organization of Longhorns then struck for three desires in the first 1:36 of the fourth zone to square matters up at eight-8.
“Fifteen seconds left, the chances are you don’t get the ball, and by hook or by a crook score a purpose; however, the odds were in our choices that point. That changed into surely kind of a tide-turner,” Castelli said of Nokia’s intention. “It was given away from us within the 0.33 quarter, but I’m satisfied we came out with hearth within the fourth sector. I felt like they looked like we did within the third quarter. They were a touch shellshocked.”
Less than a minute later, the Longhorns got even more momentum when McCabe turned into a hit with the rare goalie ejection and had to sweat out 20 seconds of a Longhorns man gain.
Zimmerman and Garrett Blades covered up on the purpose line to form a two-person defensive wall, and the strategy labored when Blades blocked the capability pass-ahead shot.
“I don’t like after they take my function, but they did it thoroughly,” McCabe said. “I’m proud of them. I changed into not glad about the kick-out, but still, they got in there and that they proved we would nevertheless play protection even without a goalie.”
Just underneath a minute later, the Jr. Bills regained the lead while Will Fox buried a shot only as a person-benefit become expiring with three:39 to play.
“That changed into huge,” Penilla stated. “He’s a gamer, guy. He plays honestly nicely in these big situations.”
Kreienkamp had a chance to offer SLUH a two-goal lead, but he misfired on a 5-meter penalty shot with 2:35 to play. But, he made up for it by scoring an insurance aim with 1: eleven left to play.
“It’s just like new surroundings this 12 months,” Kreienkamp stated. “We lost such a lot of seniors ultimate 12 months, so we wanted to come out right here and show we’re a brand new group. However, we’re nevertheless here, and we’re still on the top.”