Girls Water Polo: Fenwick escapes with second straight championship
Updated: May 19, 2012 10:06PM
Fenwick’s second consecutive girls water polo state title was anything but conventional.
Only five girls remain from last year’s team, and this year’s roster featured nine sophomores. Changing lineups were the norm, with girls missing at various points throughout the season due to swim meets or tryouts for national teams.
But the Friars still found a way to defeat a resilient Naperville Central squad, 10-7, in Saturday’s state championship game at Stevenson.
The win gives Fenwick its seventh state championship in the 11 years of the IHSA state series.
“We had all sorts of things going on this year that we haven’t had to deal with in the past,” Fenwick coach John Wagner said. “It’s a repeat for the school, but not for the players. It was really sweet for them to get to taste this.”
As expected, it was a tight game throughout between the two teams that have been the best in the state this season. The score was tied 4-4 at the half before Fenwick (32-3) slowly pulled away. Goals from Maureen Barron and Cara Borkovec opened a 7-5 Fenwick lead with 44 seconds left in the third. The two-goal margin was the largest of the game for either team at that point.
Naperville Central (32-3) answered six seconds later on a goal from leading scorer Abbey Kerth. But Fenwick’s Alexa Ovalle scored two goals within a minute of each other in the fourth to give the Friars an insurmountable 9-6 lead.
“I can’t put my finger on it and say that it was anything we did wrong,” Naperville Central coach Jeff Plackett said. “It was just Fenwick playing like Fenwick in the state championship game. Congratulations to Fenwick. We played really well too.
‘‘There are an awful lot of girls teams that would love to be standing in our shoes right now.”
To reach the finals, the Friars got three goals apiece from Borkovec, Ovalle, Colleen Barron and Maureen Barron to post a 14-6 win over New Trier. Naperville Central topped St. Ignatius 11-7 to advance. Kerth led the way with four goals, and Lauren Gunn and Emily Sejna added two each.
Now the Friars will have their eyes set on a potential run of state championships after graduating only two seniors from this group.
“From the very beginning, I told everybody that honestly it was the best feeling of my life last year,” Borkovec said. “I wanted everyone else to feel the same way and now they do. Hopefully we can do it another two years.”