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Lane rolls past Northside, captures Public League crown

05/09/2014, 11:00pm CDT
By Paul Johnson

Natalie O’Connell scored three goals to lead a balanced attack as Lane cruised to a 12-2 victory against Northside in the Public League final Friday at UIC.

The seniors on Lane's girls water polo team know what it’s like to win a city championship, having won as freshmen.

Friday at UIC against Northside Prep, the Indians added a bookend title to the 2011 crown.

Lane dominated from the outset, cruising to a 12-2 win and the city title.

“We were really pumped,” Lane senior Natalie O’Connell said. “We didn’t win the last two years, so we really wanted to win it again. It’s a very good confidence boost for next week (sectionals). We want to go there and show everyone what we can do.”

Lane (17-5) wasted little time jumping on Northside. The Indians scored for goals in the first quarter and built a 6-0 lead before the Mustangs (15-12) could even get on the board.

“They’re a bunch of natural swimmers,” Lane coach Tim Ruppe said. “That’s exactly what we practiced all season long, that speed, because we knew that was our X-factor.”

In addition to the speed and the offensive barrage, Lane’s defense, anchored by goalie Anne Purlewski, shut down Northside, holding the Mustangs to only two goals.

“Our defense is probably one of the strongest parts of our game,” Ruppe said.

Offensively, Lane featured a balanced attack, led by three goals from O’Connell. Ally Cortez, Megan Levell and Amanda Magana each scored twice for the Indians.

Marti Hale and Jessica Skippler each scored for Northside.

“I think they just need a little more confidence in themselves,” Northside coach Carlos Ceja said. “It just seemed like today, we had some mistakes, some turnovers. At this point in the season, championship season, getting ready for sectionals, we just can’t make those mistakes. It’s something that we have to work on before we come back and play Whitney Young (at sectionals) next week.”

Ruppe is encouraged by the Indians' progress from last year, using their potential sectional title opponent, St. Ignatius, as the benchmark. Last year, the Indians lost by 10 to the Wolfpack. This season, the St. Ignatius margin of victory was only two goals.

“We feel like we’re a very strong contender at sectionals,” Ruppe said.

Young took third with an 11-4 win over Payton.

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Catherine Steegmueller

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