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Girls Championship Game: Lyons 13 St Ignatius 8


LINCOLNSHIRE, IL - Lyons capped off a perfect season (35-0) with a 13-8 win over St Ignatius in the state championship game to win their first ever IHSA state water polo title. The Lions and Wolfpack entered halftime tied at 4-4, but a 5-1 run that saw four different girls record goals sent Lyons on their way to claiming the first state championship trophy for an public school team in IHSA state water polo history.


Just as they have done all season, the Lions used a balanced offensive attack to win their thirty-fifth and most important game of the year. Erika Ronning led the team in scoring in her final high school game, while sophomores Kirby Kaptur and Lizzy Kosin each scored 3 times in the win. Katelyn Jacobs scored 2 goals and Adriana Hoak added one score in the victory for LT.


The Wolfpack did not make things easy for the Lions in the first half, as Stephanie Fernandez scored two times and assisted Kate Stelnicki on a goal midway through the second period that tied the game at 4-4. That's how things stood at the break, with Ignatius feeling like they had a bit of momentum on their side after outscoring the Lions 3-2 in the second quarter.


Cue the Lyons big second half run. The Lions forced a turnover on the Wolfpack's first possession and Jacobs was left open on the other end for a breakaway goal to make the score 5-4. Kaptur drew a penalty and just got her shot past Sarah Fleming to up the LT lead to two goals. After an ejection, Ronning hit the post from the right side, got the ball back, then scored from the same spot to put Lyons on top 7-4. After Fernandez tallied her third goal of the contest to trim the lead to 7-5, Kosin scored from two meters out and Trilla assisted Jacobs on her what seemed like her second goal of the quarter to give Lyongs a 9-5 advantage.


That's when the game faced a bit of a delay, as the referees ruled that St Ignatius had a player with three ejections still in the pool for the last two plays. Strangely (though it does follow the rules), the goal scored by Jacobs was wiped off the scoreboard and Lyons was awarded a penalty shot (by rule, play reverts back to when the ineligible player was supposed to have been out of the pool) even though it was at a disadvantage to Lyons that they had their goal taken away. In the end, it did not matter, as Kaptur converted the penalty shot and the Lions led 9-5 late in the period. Liz Sweeney did get a goal back for the Wolfpack at the end of the third period, so Lyons led 9-6 entering the fourth quarter.


Hoak and Fernandez traded goals in the first two minutes of the second quarter, moving the scoreline to 10-7. Ronning and Celeste Almarez each scored a goal for their respective teams to increase the score to 11-8. With the Wolfpack still within striking distance, both Jacobs and Ronning scored late goals to ensure that Lyons could lift the state trophy after a perfect season.


Fernandez led the Wolfpack with 4 goals, while four other players scored one goal apiece in the loss for St Ignatius; the Wolfpack finished the season with a 28-5 record.




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