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Glenbrook South boys water polo coach has lofty goals for goalie Davis Hianik

Click here to view and purchase additional photos of the Glenbrook South boys water polo team in the Glenbrook South Sectional quarterfinal.

GLENVIEW — Davis Hianik has been the Glenbrook South boys water polo team’s starting goalie the last two seasons and he’s developed a long list of strengths.

The junior’s positioning, anticipation, athleticism and arm strength are among his good qualities and they perfectly suit the Titans’ counterattacking style, Glenbrook South coach Dave Lieberman said. Hianik’s vocal leadership in net was also crucial to the Titans finishing 22-6 this year.

Now Lieberman wants to see Hianik take the next step. He wants Hianik to make the jump from being a very good varsity goalie to an elite, intimidating varsity goalie.

“I’d like to see his fitness level go up a little bit and be able to kind of sustain that high level of play throughout entire games; kind of take over games in the net and really make it difficult for teams to score, even if they do have an open net,” Lieberman said. “Get that intimidation factor in there: ‘Hey, Davis is in the net. We’ve got to be perfect at everything.’ That’s where I’d really like to see him excel next year.”

Reaching that level and maintaining it throughout a two-month water polo campaign is difficult, though. It requires a great deal of work in the offseason, both in playing matches and spending time working on one’s lower-body strength. Ideal fitness also helps goalies stay mentally focused during matches, Lieberman said.

After he made nine saves in Glenbrook South’s 16-8 victory over Evanston in the sectional quarterfinals — it was one of only a few games in which he didn’t record double-digit saves this season — Hianik said that an area he hopes to improve upon in the offseason is becoming better at stopping shots outside of five meters.

Doing that requires goalies to “play with really good players,” Hianik said. “You’ve got to get used to all different shots, and work with a bunch of different people and learn from older guys and coaches.”

Repetition and time spent in the water during the summer and fall are keys to the development of any water polo player. Goalies are no different.

“The more shots you see, the better off you’re going to be,” Lieberman said. “You learn how to anticipate when to go up, guys’ tendencies and where they like to shoot — what corners they like to go to — and how to cheat a little bit.”