Fenwick     11
M. McAuley 10

During the IHSA Girls Water Polo State Championship game against Mother McAuley, Fenwick coach Jack Wagner repeatedly told his players, “calm down and be smart.” After falling behind 5-0, the Friars summoned all their composure and intelligence to rally for a thrilling 11-10 victory over the Mighty Macs on Saturday at Stevenson High School.

Three goals by the Friars’ Morgan Bonk, Lisett Calderon and Emma McKernin in the final 1:10 of the first quarter closed the deficit to 5-3 stemming the Mighty Macs’ momentum. Calderon added a pair of goals over the opening two minutes of the second quarter to square the score at 5-5.

“We didn’t necessarily want to go down five goals,” Wagner said. “We knew we had to change the way we played because we beat [Mother McAuley] three times during the season. We knew they would have adjustments to our offense.”

A score by Meg Nolan (2 goals) gave the Mighty Macs a 7-5 advantage; however, Stephanie Ovalle responded with two goals for Fenwick to tie the score again at 7-7.

The Friars (28-4) took their first lead of the match at the 6:30 mark of the final period when Bonk scored a goal to take a 9-8 lead. When Bonk was ejected from the game due to three fouls, Calderon and Katie Tynan provided goals over the final three minutes of the game to secure the victory.

“All I could do was cheer for my teammates,” Bonk said. “We came back in this game, and now we’re state champions.”

Calderon led Fenwick with four goals, five steals and an assist, while Ovalle (3 goals, 2 assists), Bonk (2 goals, 2 assists), Katie Tynan (goal) and McKernin (goal) also played well. Goalie Mariclaire Bresnahan had 15 blocks.

Maggie McShane and Yariria Chavez led Mother McAuley (22-8) with three goals apiece

“It’s really exciting to get our title back,” said Calderon, alluding to the Friars’ 9-8 loss to Mother McAuley in the 2007 state finals. “It was a great team effort. We’re hoping to keep the title next year because we have almost all of our players back.”

Wagner praised his players’ collective effort, particularly in the fourth quarter without Bonk in the pool.

“I thought the girls were phenomenal,” Wagner said. “To lose the best player in the state [Bonk] to fouls, we had some people who really stepped up. That’s a credit to our kids.”

Fenwick, which has won four girls water polo state championships, returns everyone next season except senior Krystle Kutak.

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Marty Farmer

The Illinois Press Association recently honored Marty with the 1st & 2nd Place Awards for Best Sports Feature for his article He's in an Oak Park state of mind: Former OPRF star Iman Shumpert returns...