Poor shooting aside, Friars earn MCAC title

? Team struggles to put McAuley away late in game.

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The Friars won the Metro Catholic Aquatic Conference tournament title on Saturday in a 9-6 victory over Mother McAuley, in a game that saw Fenwick dominate on defense and generate enough offense to win despite poor (9-for-34) shooting.

The Friars jumped ahead early when Christina Romano scored the first goal of the game two minutes in. Farren Rixter scored again for the Friars two minutes later to make the score 2-0, and the Friars never looked back.

Mother McAuley was able to keep the Friars at bay for most of the rest of the first quarter, and they scored two quick goals to tie the game up. With just under a minute remaining in the quarter, however, Keely Baldwin took a shot at the top right corner of the McAuley net that made its way in, to give the Friars a 3-2 lead.

One minute and 30 seconds into the second quarter, Fenwick scored again. Allison Pavlik took a shot that went off of the post, but she got her own rebound and passed to Baldwin. Baldwin put the ball in the net for her second goal of the game. Fenwick scored again less than a minute later when Meghan Barron blew a shot past the Mother McAuley goalie.

McAuley responded and scored just 20 seconds later, but Romano then scored her second goal of the game, with four minutes to go in the half, to put the Friars up 6-3.

McAuley scored again, but the Friars again retaliated. Rixter got her second goal of the game with 2:40 left in the first half. Fenwick tacked on another goal with just 20 seconds to go when Kaitlin Kysiak scored.

In the third quarter, Fenwick's only goal came when Baldwin got an open break for the ball. She beat the McAuley defender to the ball and scored. McAuley also got a goal, and the score was 9-5, Fenwick, at the end of the third quarter.

McAuley tightened their defense even more in the final quarter, and the Friars were unable to score, though they gave up one goal. Still, Fenwick won comfortably, 9-6. Earlier in the tournament, they beat Loyola 19-6.

"I think that the tournament went pretty well," said Fenwick head coach Jack Wagner. Wagner, however, said that the Friars need to do some work before sectionals.

"We need to be a little more accurate when we shoot the ball. If we hadn't played such solid defense, we probably would have lost the game, the way we shot the ball. We also need to get some more intensity."

"State is two weeks away," said Baldwin. "We still have some things to work on, but hopefully we can get them together."

The Friars, who earned a bye in the first round of the Fenwick Sectional, will take on either York or Rolling Meadows in the semifinal on Friday (4:30 p.m.). The sectional title game will be played Saturday at 1 p.m.

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