Despite losing the last two matches of its annual Mike Murphy Tournament on April 2, senior hole set Linden Gierstorf and her Fenwick girls water polo teammates could see the progress.

The Friars (10-4-1) lost to two of the state’s top teams – Evanston 9-3 and undefeated Stevenson 11-7 – in their five-team, round-robin division after beating Oakville from St. Louis 9-5 and St. Ignatius 9-4 on April 1. Fenwick previously lost at Stevenson 11-6 on March 17.

“We know in the future, come the state tournament, we’re going to see these teams again,” Gierstorf said. “We’ve played a few of them so we’re excited for rematches. Based on how we played earlier, we definitely think we’re improving.”  

Last season, Stevenson finished second in state and Evanston was a sectional finalist. The teams played to a 5-5 tie April 1 with Evanston winning the division based on fewer overall goals allowed.

Fenwick boasts a large group of varsity returnees from its 2021 sectional semifinalist. 

“I think we did a very nice job overall and every game we’re learning something new. We’re just really excited to see where we’re going to go,” Fenwick coach Elizabeth Timmons said. “[Goalie Nahla Basile] definitely had some very key blocks that kept us in these games. Our team is very small. We’re continuing to build into being able to put a game away, everyone being able to finish.” 

That made the Stevenson result even more encouraging. The Friars trailed throughout yet closed to 9-7 midway through the fourth period.

“Our biggest takeaway from this tournament is that we need to communicate more and just work on our plays and being a team,” senior driver Demi Ovalle said. “There’s work that needs to be done but compared to last year, our chemistry, our dynamic as a team is a lot better.” 

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