Fenwick celebrated its second straight year of water polo dominance when both its boys' and girls' water polo teams won their respective IHSA State championships at Stevenson High School in Lincolnshire on Saturday. The coincidental victories came in similar fashion as game-winning goals were scored by siblings Luke Baldwin and Keely Baldwin.
With just under three minutes remaining in the fourth quarter, Luke Baldwin, a sophomore, scored his third goal of the game and the Friars (29-5) held on for an 8-7 win over Naperville Central (28-7). The last-minute heroics nearly mirrored that of Luke's older sister, Keely, who scored her fourth goal with a minute remaining to give the Fenwick girls' team (29-0-1) a 10-9 victory over host Stevenson.
The boys' game started out with both teams trading goals, winding up with a stalemate at 3-3 by the end of the first quarter. Tom Parolin and Mark Melnyk (2 goals) helped the Friars to a 5-4 lead by halftime.
Naperville Central's Pat LeClair tied things back up in the third, scoring from 15-feet out. The Friars responded with a goal by John Barrett, and Luke Baldwin helped build the lead to 7-5 with his second goal of the night.
Brian Luth got Naperville Central back in the running in the fourth quarter, before Luke Baldwin's game-winner and Chris Jones' impressive play at goalie. Jones had nine saves in the game.
Other contributors for the Friars included Paul Grusecki (goal) and Oscar Calderon, who kept Naperville Central goalkeeper Corie Stein on his toes with five shots on goal in the game.
Parolin scored three goals in Fenwick's 13-5 thrashing of Mundelein in the semifinal round. The Friars edged arch-rival Brother Rice 9-8 in overtime in the quarterfinals on Thursday. It was Fenwick's third consecutive victory over its Metro Catholic Aquatics Conference foe after the Crusaders had won four straight against the Friars in the regular season. Calderon led Fenwick with four goals, while Melnyk added two.
Fenwick's boys' water polo program has now won 11 State titles dating back to 1989.
The Fenwick girls' team got off to a good start in the win over Stevenson, going up 2-0 in the first period and taking a 3-1 lead at the break. Stevenson came from behind to score five goals in the fourth, before Keely Baldwin, who scored 70 goals during the regular season, closed the door with a minute to go in the game.
Senior Danielle Buglio and junior Farren Rixter each scored two goals apiece in the win.
The Friars dominated in the earlier rounds, trouncing Homewood-Flossmoor 13-5 in the semifinals and Loyola 12-3 in the quarterfinals.
Keely and Baldwin each scored four goals apiece in the win over Homewood-Flossmoor, while Rixter and Alison Pavlik finished with four apiece in the victory over Loyola.
"The big part of this program is the fact that the kids play this sport year round," said Dave Perry, director of aquatics at Fenwick and head coach of the boys' team. "Both teams put in the extra work in the summer and that translates to success."