Boys Water Polo: Curia scores 8 goals in North victory
BY PAUL JOHNSON For Sun-Times Media March 19, 2013 9:48PM
Updated: March 19, 2013 9:48PM
Naperville North senior water polo player Eric Curia blazed to a program-record 162 goals for the Huskies last season.
At the rate he’s scoring goals this season, that record could be short-lived.
He continued his blistering scoring pace in the early season with eight goals to lead North to a 16-11 win over Lockport Tuesday. In the battle of two state qualifiers from last year, the Porters were handed their first loss of the season.
“He’ll probably break his own record,” North coach John Blumthal said. “I would imagine he will break it again this year. At some point he’s going to get frustrated because we’re going to work some other guys in there just in case. What if he’s having a bad game? But he’s on a pretty unprecedented pace right now.”
The Huskies (9-1) came off a solid showing in last week’s Fenwick tournament, suffering a one-goal loss to defending state champion Lyons, the team that knocked them out of the state quarterfinals last spring. They kept up the momentum in the first half against Lockport (7-1).
Both Curia and junior Nolan Roberts scored four goals in the first half for North, helping the Huskies build a 10-3 halftime advantage. Curia had his hand in a couple of other goals as well, recording an assist and drawing a penalty shot that junior Garrett Nash put home.
But in the second half, Lockport showed some life. The Porters scored the first three goals of the third quarter, including one of Dan Oldendorf’s team-high six goals, to cut the lead to 10-6. But Curia answered with four goals to push the lead to a more comfortable 14-7.
“I think we had a lot of nerves about the game because we knew it was going to be a tough game,” Lockport assistant coach Nick Surman said. “We kind of got in our groove and you saw that the second half.”
Lockport outscored the Huskies 8-3 in the second half.
“We didn’t focus as much in the second half as I thought we could have and should have,” Curia said. “But a win’s a win, we’re really happy.”
It was the toughest early test Lockport has had this season, something Surman thinks could be a blessing in disguise.
“I was telling the guys, it’s kind of nice to get your butts kicked because it puts it in perspective,” Surman said. “The beginning of the season, we’ve gone undefeated up until here and I think they almost needed that, ‘Oh yeah, we’re not where we need to be.’”
As for North, Blumthal is pleased with the Huskies a third of the way through the schedule.
“The only loss was to the defending state champions by one, and then Fenwick beat them by one, so I feel like we’re right in the mix of things,” Blumthal said. “We’ve had a couple of foul-ups, you don’t expect to execute 100 percent every time. But overall, I think we’re where we need to be.”