Girls Water Polo: Fenwick’s rally sinks Mother McAuleyFenwick # 18 Paige Kohut and McAuley # 12 Jessica Bachler battle for the ball in the closing minute of play in Brother Rice's pool at 10001 A. Pulaski Road, Chicago, IL on Wednesday evening 3/14/12. Fenwick won 10-8.|Judy Fidkowski~For Sun-Times Media
Fenwick’s girls water polo program has built its reputation in the past decade on pushing the tempo and playing fast.
The Friars put that on display again Wednesday in their 10-8 comeback win in Metro Catholic play against Mother McAuley at Brother Rice.
The defending state champions fell behind 5-1 before roaring back with five unanswered goals in the fourth quarter to move to 2-0.
“We wanted to push the tempo,” Fenwick coach John Wagner said. “If they were going to stay with us, then I take my hat off to them. But it’s 28 minutes for a reason. That’s been our style for 10 years. Hopefully it’s our style for a long time. That’s the way we play.”
Fenwick trailed 5-1 at the half, the lone goal coming from Cara Borkovec in the first quarter that tied the game at 1-1. Wagner even pulled his entire group of starters out of the pool at the same time after Mother McAuley (5-1, 2-1) took a 4-1 lead late in the first.
“I asked them if they liked the way they felt,” Wagner said. “We have to play these guys Friday at the Naperville Central tournament. Do you want them to have this over you going into the game, or do you want to get yourselves back into the game? At that point, I didn’t care if we won or lost. We needed to get ourselves back into the game.”
Neither team found much offense in the second quarter, but Fenwick slowly started to creep back into the game in the third. A pair of goals from Colleen Barron, one coming on a penalty shot, helped the Friars cut the lead to 8-5 after the third.
“(Wagner) just told us to keep our heads up and not give up on ourselves, because we’re the kind of team that comes back in the second half,” Barron said. “We just tried to keep that in mind. That’s the part of the game we usually turn it on.”
It showed in the fourth, as Fenwick looked like a different team. Maureen Barron’s goal with 2:53 left, off a pass that traversed the entire pool, tied the match at 8-8. Then 22 seconds later, Colleen Barron buried the winning goal off a feed from Alexa Ovalle, giving the Friars their first lead of the game. Haley Wickham added a late goal for good measure.
The Friars head to their first tournament of the season after Thursday’s match against St. Viator. The field at Naperville Central should give Fenwick a good idea of where it stands in the early going.
“This is really the first week that we get to be together as a group,” Wagner said. “It will be interesting to see.”