The Oak Park and River Forest High School girls water polo team defeated Amundsen 14-3 on May 12, ending the regular season with a 7-8 record heading into the IHSA state tournament, which beings this week.
Coach Elizabeth Perez said the Huskies steadily improved as the season progressed, but she also sees a few areas of concern, especially on offense.
“Our offense has trouble clicking and working together,” said Perez. “Each game is a new trial and it gets frustrating at times. It’s been hard to have balance.”
OPRF senior Addie Kosterman, who had 20 goals and 14 assists during the regular season, believes the regular season went well in spite of the circumstances, which included the Huskies having to quarantine for two weeks due to COVID-19.
“After [quarantine], we really came together as a team and put forth our best whenever we played, because we know [playing] can be easily taken away from us,” said Kosterman.
The Huskies are led in scoring by junior Rory Cronin with 57 goals and 17 assists.
“We look to Rory for a lot of goals,” Perez said. “She’s got the strongest arm on the team and draws a lot of double-teams.”
Other top performers for OPRF are sophomore Regan Mary Cronin (21 goals; 3 assists plus 51 saves in goal), junior Ashby Steward-Nolan (7 goals, 7 assists), and junior goalie Cali Weber (111 saves).
During postseason play, the Huskies need spread out on offense so that the focus and pressure can be alleviated somewhat on Rory Cronin. Perez also feels ball security will be important if OPRF is to have success.
“We need to take care of the ball and not have needless turnovers,” she said. “That will help us with our confidence and score more.”
Moreover, the slow-starting Huskies have to begin clicking sooner in games. Perez thinks slow starts happen too often and make it difficult for OPRF to rally.
“Sometimes we would wait until the third quarter to get going. In the postseason, that’s not going to cut it,” she said. “We need to play four quarters, and not just in spurts.”
Seeded fourth in the York Sectional, OPRF begins postseason play by hosting Von Steuben May 19. Should the Huskies advance, top-seeded Maine West is the likely opponent in the sectional semifinal May 21.
The York Sectional title game is May 22, followed by the state finals May 26-29 at Fenwick High School.