Water Polo Teams Look to Avenge Playoff Defeats

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Water Polo Teams Look to Avenge Playoff Defeats

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After taking 4th place in the 2017 state tournament last year, the boys water polo team was left with a sour taste in their mouth.
“I wanted it bad,” comments Senior Ivan Soto, who will be continuing his water polo career next year at California Lutheran University. “After we lost and walked away with a fourth place trophy, I was depressed for a week after.”
This same disappointment was shared by the girls team after their 3rd place finish in the 2017 tournament. While 3rd and 4th place finishes are by no means poor performances, both teams expected to be champions, and felt they had the talent to do so.
This year is no different, and they have used their disappointment from last year as a way to motivate themselves this year.
The boy’s team is rounding out an excellent season, ranked #4 in the state entering sectionals, with a 19-7 regular season record. They are undefeated in their conference, and have had much success beyond their conference as well.
They have only lost 7 times entering the state tournament: twice to Lyons Township, twice to Stevenson, and once to Missouri’s #1 team, Naperville Central, and Loyola. Lyons Township and Stevenson are ranked 3rd and 2nd in the state, respectively.
Earlier in the season, the team travelled to St. Louis to play in a tournament against the 1st, 3rd, 4th, and 5th ranked teams in Missouri and a team from Texas. Not only did they emerge from the tournament winning four out of the five games played, but every player on the team scored or assisted at least one goal.
The boys only lost to the #1 team in Missouri in a very close game. During the tournament, the boys had great success as a team, but certain individuals were extremely successful as well. A few freshman were brought up to play on varsity and played their first minutes on varsity well. Also doing well individually, captain Payton Comstock was named to the all-tournament team and was voted MVP of the tournament by the coaches and officials.
The goal of the team over the final few weeks of the season was to defend the 2017 sectional title and the Metro Catholic Aquatic Conference (MCAC) title. While the friars lost 10-8 in the finals of the MCAC tournament, they still will be the number one seed in their sectional.
The IHSA Sectional meet will still be challenge for the friars despite their number one seed, as it is being held at York this year. The last two times that the team has lost an IHSA sectional were both at York, so they are looking to change that pattern this year.
The team has participated in the IHSA State tournament every year since 2002, with the exceptions of 2003, 2012, and 2016. The goal for this year is to finish above 4th place, where they finished last year. The last time they won the state championship was in 2013.
In the final few weeks of the season, depending on the tournament bracket, the boys may face Stevenson or Lyons Township again. Though these teams may be formidable opponents, they are nothing the team can’t handle, because, in the words of Danny Malagoli, ‘17, “No team beats us three times in a season.”
The Girl’s team is also the number one seed in their sectional, which is also being held at york. Different from the boys, the girls team should have a fairly easy path to the state championship game due to the sectional assignments.
“We can beat any team in the state if we play to our potential,” Senior Kate Mackie commented. “If we stay composed, we have a really good shot at winning a title this year.”
Inspired by impressive, but not fulfilling state finishes last year, both Fenwick Water Polo teams are hungry for state championships.

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