Friars forced to settle for second at Dan Lynch tourney

? Huskies fall to rival, battle back for respectable finish.

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By MICHAEL McCORMICK

Going into the sixth annual Dan Lynch Classic boys' water polo tournament last weekend, the Friars expected to have a first place trophy in their hands when the splashing had ceased in the Fenwick natatorium. The Friars, after all, are a team that is "just stacked, as usual," according to Jim Lock, Jr., head coach of Fenwick's cross-town rival OPRF. However, the Friars had to settle for second place, behind Brother Rice.

Fenwick opened the tournament against OPRF on Friday afternoon. The Huskies were no match for the Friars. The Friars won handedly 13-6, with five goals from Mark Melnyk and three goals from Paul Grusecki.

The Friars faced Homewood-Flossmoor later on Friday, routing the Vikings 17-7. Jack Ryden led Fenwick with four goals. Melnyk, Dan Wolak, Oscar Calderon, and Bob Lopez all had two goals apiece.

"It was nice," said Grusecki of two quick victories, "because we were able to get a lot of subs in who don't play as much."

The Friars continued their dominance on Saturday morning, shutting out St. Patrick 10-0.

"Obviously, when you shut someone out, you're doing a good job on defense," said Fenwick head coach Dave Perry.

Melnyk again contributed to the Friars' offensive effort with three goals, and Luke Baldwin and Calderon each had two.

By winning their first three games the Friars advanced to the finals, where they met Brother Rice. The Crusaders had won all three of their games going into the finals as well, but their biggest win was a 15-7 decision against Sandburg, not nearly as dominant as some of Fenwick's early wins. Nonetheless, the Friars were unable to edge Brother Rice, who took home the trophy with a 9-7 victory.

"We thought we'd win," said Perry. "But we weren't as intense as we'd been earlier in the tournament."

Tom Parolin had three goals for the Friars, while Melnyk chipped in two. Fenwick trailed 8-3 at one point, but fought back with three goals in a row. Down 9-6, the Friars scored again with three and a half minutes remaining to get within two, but were unable to convert any attempts after that.

"We made a comeback," said Perry, "but it wasn't enough."

"We weren't really in the passing lanes," said Grusecki. "We tried to focus on just one player [on our team], and we didn't realize that they had six really good players."

While Grusecki saw the offense as the Friars' problem, Perry observed a different problem.

"We didn't play as good defense as we did earlier in the tournament," he said, alluding to when the Friars shutout St. Patrick. "We didn't do a good job with our pressure."

While the Fenwick players were less than enthusiastic about their second place finish, the Huskies were pleased with their outcome.

After losing to Fenwick, OPRF bounced back to defeat Homewood-Flossmoor 14-8 on Saturday morning. The Huskies then narrowly edged fifth-ranked Naperville Central 10-9. Mike Nickels scored the winning goal in what was a big win for the Huskies.

"We're playing a lot better right now," said goalie Scott Dunlavey.

The Huskies finished up the weekend with an 11-9 loss to Lincoln-Way East.

"We kind of wore out," said Lock. Still, the Huskies were satisfied with their improvements from earlier in the season. "We got a lot of contributions from a lot of different people," said the coach.

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