After a Buffalo Grove boys water polo match, senior co-captain Danny Boukas is one of the last players out of the pool.
That’s about the only time he moves slow in the water.
“He plays so hard that he just drags himself out of the pool,” Bison coach Scott Kopecky said. “He’s the hardest-working kid and puts 100-percent effort into every game.”
Boukas, who earned all-MSL recognition as a junior, said there’s never a down moment during a match.
“I like to go as hard as I can every possession,” he said. “Even if the person [on offense] doesn’t have the ball, I try to do whatever I can to help us win.”
Boukas is Buffalo Grove’s hole defender. That means he sets the tone on defense and is charged with defending the opponent who is camped out with the best position to score and make the pass that leads to a score.
“He doesn’t get turned around very much,” Kopecky said. “He has the strength to [maintain] his position. He’s put in the time in the weight room and that’s one of the reasons the guys respect him so much. He’s done what he needs to do to be a better hole defender.”
Added senior Kevin Lotzer, “He’s probably the strongest person on the team and the leader of our defense.”
Boukas enjoys defending the other team’s top offensive player.
“I just really like the challenge,” he said.
Kopecky said he appreciates the way Boukas leads Buffalo Grove in the weight room and in the water.
“He’s a gym rat and his work ethic transfers to other players on the team,” Kopecky said. “And if we’re doing something and someone is being lazy, he has no problem telling them to get in the game. That’s just the kind of leader he is.”
Boukas is one of just two players on the team (7-8 through Sunday) that also play football. He said the aggressive nature of football helps him in the pool.
“My position in water polo involves a lot of physical fighting for who can get the best position,” he said.
Although Boukas’ biggest focus is on defense, he is a solid performer on offense as well. He is third on the team in scoring.
“When people take him for granted on offense, he can burn them,” Kopecky said.
Buffalo Grove has played well in spurts this season but is still searching for a more consistent performance, particularly early in matches.
“There have been games where we’ve been off and we come out flat,” Boukas said. “We have to come out prepared and ready to win. We need to a win a really big game to get our momentum going.”