Boys Water Polo: O’Connor’s stinging save propels Loyola to sectional title over New Trier
Updated: June 26, 2012 3:48PM
Following Loyola’s narrow 10-9 victory over New Trier in the Glenbrook South Sectional, Loyola goalkeeper Robbie O’Connor’s hand was still stinging.
O’Connor made the game-winning save on New Trier’s Jordan Palmer, who launched his game-tying attempt with approximately two seconds remaining. O’Connor’s save clinched Loyola’s third consecutive trip to state and sent the Ramblers into a state of euphoria.
“It’s just the greatest feeling in the world,” O’Connor said. “You feel a pain in your arm, but it’s never felt so good.”
Palmer, one of the state’s top players, gave O’Connor and Loyola’s defense copious problems throughout Saturday’s match. The New Trier junior scored a game-high five goals, including four in the second quarter. The Ramblers were able to adjust their defensive scheme at halftime, however, and overcame a one-goal halftime deficit with two goals in the fourth quarter.
Danny Stauder’s goal with 4:24 remaining gave Loyola a 9-8 lead. Then, Charlie Dowdle’s fourth and final goal of the match gave the Ramblers, who finished third in the state last season, an advantage which O’Connor preserved in the waning seconds of Saturday’s sectional final.
“Everybody in the water played to 110 percent of their abilities,” Palmer said. “We knew that this was going to be a fantastic game. We got a crowd here that was crazy. Everybody did as well as they could, and at the end, regardless of the score, it was a great game. They just played a little bit better than we did and that shows on the scoreboard.”
Loyola will play Latin in the state quarterfinals, which take place on Thursday, May 17.