Hockey Sticks It to the Competition


Photo courtesy of Caroline Jenkins

From the very beginning of the season, the Fenwick Girls’ Hockey Team was destined to reach their goal of growing closer as a team and improving their game, so it only goes to show how hard they worked to become undefeated and head for state.

The girls on the team not only come from Fenwick, but also from neighboring schools, including Oak Park River Forest, York, Trinity, and Guerin Prep.

From Fenwick, there are senior captains Emily Franciszkowicz and Caroline Jenkins, senior Cecilia Jenkins, junior Ellie Kaiser, junior Sam Schak, and freshman Elizabeth Mack. From OPRF, there is senior captain Erin Proctor, junior Lanie Hibel, and freshmen Cuora Sullivan and Fiona Gallagher. Senior captain Sarah Steadman is the only teammate from Trinity High School.

Seniors Kelly Millins, Katie Gobber, and Lindsay Sepanski, sophomores Gianna Stinsa, Simone Bednarik, Lilly Curry, and Olivia Quick, and freshman Siobhan O’Connor are from York High School. Senior goalie Lena Flores is the only teammate from Guerin Prep.

Sarah Steadman, senior captain and defenseman from Trinity, says, “I think the team has actually acted as a way to break down barriers between local schools. I go to Trinity and many of our girls go to OPRF, York, or Guerin, but we come together with the Fenwick girls to represent the near western suburbs in a way that no other high school sports team can.”

With their current 15-0-2 record, the team has defeated the most competitive teams in their bracket: Loyola, Naper Valley, and the defending state champions from New Trier. Over the course of the season, the team defeated Warren, 8-0, Loyola, 5-1, New Trier, 6-3, District 211/214, 9-2, and Latin, 2-1.

In an exciting game against Naper Valley, a team they were tied with for first place at the time, junior Ellie Kaiser tied the game in the second period, 1-1, until senior captain Emily Franciszkowicz scored a buzzer-beating goal with an assist from senior Cecilia Jenkins with two seconds left. That game continued their undefeated streak and made the team first place in their bracket.

Steadman claims that the highlight of her season “was definitely the clutch goal by Emily Franciszkowicz with two seconds left in the game to snatch the win against Naper Valley.” This undefeated record means a great deal to the girls on the team, and junior forward Ellie Kaiser claims, “the two biggest things that have allowed us to make Fenwick history with our undefeated record of 15-0-2 is our coaching staff and our ability to come together as a team and have fun.”

On February 4th, the Fenwick Girls hockey team announced their invitation to state, which is a huge success and accomplishment for the whole team along with head coach Mason Strom, and assistant coaches Jess Cwik, Rebecca Shinsako, and Natalie Blamires. All of the girls on the team attribute their successful season to their spectacular coaches.

Coach Strom, who has been with the Fenwick girls hockey program for multiple years, has had a huge impact on the team both on, and off, the ice. Kaiser says, “Coach Strom has pushed us all to become better players, and he also teaches us life lessons. All of our assistant coaches, who have played for Fenwick’s team in the past, have helped us be as successful as ever and develop into better people.”

Without the continuous support and dedication of these incredible coaches, the girls would not have the opportunity to reach their ultimate goals of growing closer as a team and winning the state title at the United Center.

In preparation for the state championship, the girls have been practicing at least once a week, focusing on improving any aspects in their game that need tightening up. Playing consistently and stressing “team-first play” is also extremely important to the team.

Speaking for all of her teammates, Kaiser says, “we hope to win state this season; each player wants to make their school proud and win it for our coaches. I want to win because I feel like I owe it to Coach Mason and to Fenwick. Fenwick has been my home, and it’s an extraordinary place where we are all part of something bigger than ourselves.”