The Fenwick boys water polo team wasted no time grabbing area bragging rights in its first match of a quad on Saturday. The undefeated Friars began the three-game day with a 19-5 victory over cross-town rival OPRF.
Conor Brown led Fenwick (22-0) with four goals, while Matt Farmer, Ted Herbstritt and Dan Kelly contributed three goals apiece. Brown scored three of his goals in the first quarter, pushing Fenwick out to a 7-1 advantage.
“During the first few games of the season, we started games a bit slowly,” Fenwick coach Kyle Perry said. “We played in a tournament [DeSmet] in St. Louis which was a big turnaround for us having faster starts. That carried over [today] as we came out guns blazing against OPRF.”
Showing off their considerable depth, the Friars’ lead swelled to 16-3 after three quarters with contributions from multiple players.
“Everyone on our team is a scoring option,” Herbstritt said. “Our success starts with our coaching. They instill in us a tremendous work ethic.
The Huskies’ Nathan Pimentel and Dylan Reynolds tallied goals in the final period to make the final tally 19-5. Pimentel paced OPRF with a pair of goals. David Anderson, Troy Williams and Reynolds scored the other OPRF goals.
“We have a lot of individual talent, but Fenwick works so well together as a team,” OPRF senior attacker Luke O’Connell said. “The Fenwick system is almost unbeatable. We’ve had a bit if a rough season, but we’re hoping to learn and grow as a team, especially for the younger guys who will be back next year.”
The Huskies (11-9) clearly miss the contributions of senior star Armando Lee (out with a torn meniscus).
“[Fenwick] was a difficult match for us,” OPRF coach Tom Nickels said. “I’m not sure if all our guys were quite ready for that level of water polo. Fenwick is the best team in the state. The players on our teams know each other well, and because of the proximity of the schools, it’s definitely a rivalry.”
Last year, the Huskies upset Fenwick in the regular season before the Friars ultimately went on to win their seventh straight state championship.
In other action on the day, Fenwick cruised past Mundelein 20-9 behind five goals from Brown. Tom Osmolak scored four goals and goalie Dan Newell had six saves to lift the Friars over Naperville Central 14-1.
Naperville Central nipped OPRF 14-13, but the Huskies responded with a 10-7 win over Mundelein as Anderson tallied four goals.
Aside from the Friars’ perfect record this season, Fenwick is even more thrilled to have veteran head coach Dave Perry around the pool.
Perry was diagnosed with a recurrence of the cancer he had beaten a few years earlier. Despite weeks of treatment (chemotherapy and rehab), Perry has been attending games and practices recently in a wheelchair.
“It’s great to have my dad around the pool,” Kyle Perry said. “The players all respect him so much and really listen to what he has to say.”
Newell definitely is thankful to have Perry back around the team.
“Coach Perry is basically the reason I joined water polo,” the senior goalie said. “It was hard for all of us when he first got sick. Now that he’s back as much as he can be, it’s really helped our team so much.”