After reaching the IHSA state quarterfinals last spring, the Fenwick High School girls water polo team hopes to have similar success and perhaps more this year.
In her third season as head coach, Elizabeth Timmons likes what she has seen so far from the Friars with the preseason preparation.
“We are definitely improving every day and have great team chemistry,” she said. “The girls are excited to play and build off of our top-eight finish at state last year.”
Fenwick, which went 23-7-1 last season, returns six players with varsity experience in seniors Nahla Basile, Annie McCarthy, Pam Medina and Hannah Schubkegel, and juniors Audrey Mason and Xiomara Trejo. The Friars have 12 newcomers in two freshmen and 10 sophomores.
“The girls are incredibly talented,” Timmons said. “We’ve set personal and team goals that we will work toward throughout the season, and I can’t wait to see all of the amazing things we can accomplish together.”
Fenwick usually plays a rigorous schedule, and this year is no exception. The annual Mike Murphy Tournament takes place in early April and features several of the state’s top teams.
There are also non-conference matches with perennial powers Naperville North, Stevenson, New Trier, Lyons, Evanston, York and Naperville Central. And the Metro Catholic Aquatic Conference is traditionally challenging for the Friars.
“Every conference game is big for us, and we look forward to being a contender for the MCAC championship again,” said Timmons.
Fenwick’s goals are for everyone to show improvement and have fun. Timmons feels if those things occur, it will be a successful season.
“We’re looking to win conference, win the sectional, and make a better showing at state,” she said.
The Oak Park and River Forest High School girls water polo team plans on improving from last season, which ended with a 14-16 record and a sectional semifinal loss to York.
“I’m looking forward to this season and the group of players we have,” said OPRF coach Beth Perez, entering her 19th year. “This is our second season in a row with a third level, so our players’ depth and knowledge as well as our talent pool will continue to grow.”
The Huskies have eight varsity returnees, including junior goalie Ella Homrock, junior field players Ines Feliciano and Phyllis Kreiter, and senior field players Tori Evans, Amanda Lane, and Ellie Raidt.
Key newcomers are sophomore goalie Zoia Segbawu and junior field players Mary Andolina and Trinity Mosher.
“Our team has a strong connection,” Perez said. “They’re friendly, kind, and hard-working, and having this as a base will help us work together this season.”
Schedule highlights for OPRF include a home tournament against Prospect, Sandburg, and Waubonsie Valley on April 8, as well as a crosstown showdown with Fenwick on April 15.
The Huskies also have a challenging slate in the West Suburban Conference Silver Division, with Hinsdale Central, Lyons Township and York figuring to be the top contenders.
“Our goals for the season are to learn together, play each game competitively, and improve throughout,” Perez said. “We never want to feel as though any win is outside of our reach.”
OPRF opens the season March 11 with a quad tournament at Naperville North.