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Didrik Caleja
Didrik Caleja
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Didrik Caleja is a freshman at Palatine High School. When he was younger, he was interested in journalism and pursuing it as a career. In his free time, he plays video games on his PlayStation, listens...

PHS’s varsity water polo team takes the title of MSL Conference Champions

Jennifer Schiavone
Coach Gyrzbek giving the team a pep talk before the showdown begins.

On May 1, what may be looked at by many as an ordinary day to most people, in and outside of school, for the Palatine boys’ water polo team, it was the day they went to Buffalo Grove for the 2024 Mid-Suburban League (MSL) Conference game.

They faced the stampede of the Bison of Buffalo Grove High School. Both teams, and six more schools, easily had the trophy in their eyes, but it ultimately ended up on Pirate sand.

“This year was expected to be the hardest year to win the conference,” varsity water polo coach Joseph Grzybek said. “There were easily eight teams that could have won the conference, and no one had us as the potential champions, and we were happy to prove everyone wrong.”

This is how the Pirates stormed their way to winning the MSL Conference championship.

Right as the game started, many moves and turnovers could be seen hooking up the players at the benches and the audience at the stands of Buffalo Grove’s natatorium. (#7) Brodie Piecuch and (#9) Nick Maslowski were among the goal makers in the beginning quarter. Both being swift at their moves, focus and swims. Maslowski’s especially impressive move that raised the rest of the team in the last seconds was undoubtedly one of the best performances in the game.

The second quarter, starting with the Pirates at four goals and the Bison yet to have scored, was notable for the several hands and reclaims across the several turnovers, before and after (#27) Kris Szulc’s goal three minutes in. In doing so the Pirates maintained the ball and gave their best shots. This was also home of a chain of throws that lead to (#4) Max Casaccio’s goal, followed by (#13) Owen Kain’s goal against the Bison. By the end of the quarter, the Pirates were already drowning down Buffalo Grove, 8-2.

In the third quarter, the starting score of 8-2 was proven short-lived thanks to Piecuch. However, it would be much more effort until (#11) Nick Jelonkiewicz scored a goal within four minutes into the game. (#1) Hubert Roszkowski did block incoming Bison goals,  and the rest showed off the same strength and resilience in the water, but the fourth quarter would prove more exciting than the third one, which saw two Palatine goals and one Buffalo goal.

The audience lit up with the ever-improving tactics and pride of the Pirates, but most notably, Piecuch continued his impressive goals by shooting further than the 5-meter mark. The game closed off with a failed Bison goal, and the Pirates winning 12-6. They have dominated the district and others throughout the past two months. They dominated the West the previous on April 24, and now they are officially the top of the league.

“It’s been a fantastic season so far,” Grzybek said. “We’ve had a great record the whole season, and it’s only gotten better as we’ve gone.”

The water polo team celebrating with the MSL trophy. (Jennifer Schiavone)

The next big game will be the Illinois High School Association (IHSA) sectionals game on May 4 at Hoffman Estates High School.  The Palatine boys’ water polo team is just one of the great teams that show off true strength and  integrity, and they hope that they, as Grzybek said, “hopefully win sectionals down and go to state,” and ultimately stay “very balanced,” as “that’s what making [water polo] extra fun.”

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Chris Lagunes
Chris Lagunes, Reporter

Chris Lagunes is a sophomore at PHS and has been interested in the Cutlass since he first read the articles the Cutlass has to offer. He speaks English and Spanish, and has many interests outside of the crew. As the school news is just as important for much of the community as other news in many topics, Lagunes is willing to inform the school with many opinions, sports, information, and more to provide the best information for one of the state’s best schools — in-school and out-of-school. Lagunes typically gets busy later in the years with practices, games, events and clubs.

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