Huskies, Friars and Blazers share spring spotlight

Another water polo state title tops 2013 performances

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By Marty Farmer

Sports Editor

Fenwick water polo restores dominance

After a one-year hiatus, the Fenwick boys water polo team reclaimed its familiar designation as state champion. The Friars defeated state tournament host Stevenson 10-4 in the championship game on May 18.

With Fenwick leading 5-3, UCLA-bound Matt Farmer, Justin White and Trevor McLean scored a goal each to put the Patriots away for good. The Friars finished 31-5 on the season.

"It was a crazy year that was filled with a lot adversity, so I'm really proud of the guys," Fenwick coach Kyle Perry said. "Our players just decided no matter who is in the pool with us or against us, we are going to get this done."

Since 1974, Fenwick has won 20 state titles in boys water polo, including 10 of the 12 state championships since water polo became an IHSA sport in 2002. Fenwick was riding an eight-year streak as defending state champs last spring, but Lyons Township knocked the Friars out of the playoffs in a riveting sectional final.


Huskies' 800-meter relay second at state

The OPRF boys track and field 800-meter relay team of Jamal Baggett, Lionel Towns, Desmond Bird-Murphy and Tariq Taylor recorded a time of 1 minute, 28.78 seconds to finish second at the Class 3A state finals. Desmond-Bird performed admirably in place of Zach Booth, who missed the state finals due to injury.

Sophomore Chris Wright-Madison took eighth in the high jump (6-feet, 5-inches).

The Huskies scored 10 points to earn a share of 27th place with Libertyville, Willowbrook and Danville at the state finals hosted by Eastern Illinois University in Charleston.


OPRF's Kroeschell earns second at state

 Wichita State-bound McKenzee Kroeschell took second in the pole vault (clearing 12 feet) at the girls Class 3A state track and field finals.

Kroeschell leaves OPRF as the most prolific pole vaulter in school history.


Fenwick girls soccer strikes back in Class 2A

 After a disappointing loss to eventual state champion Glenwood in the Class 2A semifinals, the Friars rebounded with a strong performance during its impressive 1-0 victory against Lemont in the third-place match.

Marquette recruit Cali Pyzdrowski provided the Friars all the scoring they would need, netting a goal off a rebound with 34:18 left in regulation.

Under the guidance of coach Robert Watson, the Friars (20-6-4) recorded the highest postseason finish (boys or girls) in Fenwick soccer history.


OPRF's Dixon and Lehman fourth in tennis at state

 Jeremy Dixon and Graham Lehman pulled off a thrilling 6-4, 3-6, 6-3 win in the boys tennis state quarterfinals over Stevenson's Pawel Jaworski and Josh Lieberman. The Huskies' top doubles team finished fourth in the state and OPRF (13 points) tied three other schools for 14th place overall.


Elite Eight for Huskies boys volleyball

 Although OPRF (20-19) finished barely above .500 on the season, the Huskies certainly picked up the pace in the playoffs.

OPRF swept sectional host St. Rita 25-17, 25-16 as Ryan Ebersole (eight kills) and John Martin (six kills) led the Huskies' aggressive attack which tallied 26 kills for the match.

St. Charles North nipped OPRF 25-22, 24-26, 27-25 in a state quarterfinals thriller. Sam Rolfes (16 kills), Ebersole (15 kills) and Jared Bernard (13 kills) led OPRF offensively. Levi Algozino dished out 43 assists and Ben Miller had 18 digs in the Huskies' season finale.


Perrelli powers Fenwick softball

 Led by sophomore pitcher Val Perrelli (11-7, 2.81 ERA), the Friars won 12 of their last 16 games advancing to the Class 2A supersectionals.

Glenbard South, which went on to repeat as state champion, edged Fenwick 2-1 in 11 innings at the Nazareth Supersectional. The Friars finished 21-16 this spring.


Trinity seniors cap off memorable softball run

 Senior stars Chase Machain, Nicole Evans and Abby Ramirez closed out their highly successful careers with a 28-5 record this spring. The Blazers led York 5-3 in the top of the seventh at the Class 4A Resurrection Sectional final, but the Dukes rallied for a 7-5 victory.

In the sectional semifinal, Trinity squeaked by OPRF 3-2 in eight innings.


OPRF baseball takes conference, regional titles

The Huskies' bid to defend their Class 4A state championship ended when Maine South defeated OPRF 6-1 in the Niles West Sectional final on June 1.

Then again, OPRF coach Chris Ledbetter never viewed the Huskies' title defense, as well, a defense.

"We didn't have to defend anything this spring," he said. "Nobody is taking away our 2012 state championship. Every season is about each group of players trying to create their own memories."

OPRF flourished from that perspective, finishing with a 27-11 record, West Suburban (Silver) Conference championship and a 14th consecutive regional title.

In the Huskies' dramatic 3-2 victory over Loyola in the OPRF Regional championship game, Michigan-bound Nick Kowalczuk drove in all three runs including a clutch two-RBI double in the sixth.

Huskies left fielder Sam Cottingham-Beard's double play defensively closed out the game on his catch and subsequent dart to home plate which caught a Loyola runner attempting to score the game-tying run.


Fenwick's Hogan joins 700 club

 Fenwick rallied for a dramatic 9-7 victory in eight innings over host Loyola, lifting head coach Dave Hogan to his 700th career win. The Friars' veteran skipper became only the 13th high school baseball coach in state history to reach that lofty mark.

Over 33 years, Hogan has compiled more than 700 wins, 11 Catholic League championships, 11 regional titles, four sectional crowns and a second place finish in the 2007 summer state tournament.

The Friars (14-17) lost to St. Laurence 2-0 in a regional final this spring.


Ganschow steps down as OPRF lacrosse coach

 After serving as a coach on various levels of the OPRF boys lacrosse program over the past 17 years, Oak Park native Dan Ganschow stepped down from the position to spend more time with his family.

Email: Twitter: @OakParkSports

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