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 ILLINOIS WATER POLO

'                         'The Official Site of Illinois Water Polo'

 

 

 2005 SEASON

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 Pre-Season Girls Top 10
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1. Fenwick

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WHY: Farren Rixter is simply awesome on offense, can score a ton of goals, and will fight for Player of the Year honors...Alison Pavlik was impressive as a freshman, has a devastating left-handed shot, and should have a monster year...Keely Baldwin should pick up where she left off at the end of the 2004 season and lead the Friars at both the offensive and defensive ends...Denise Buglio and Christina Romano were strong bench players last season and will look to play even bigger roles this year...head coach Jack Wagner has the ability to mold the younger Fenwick players into strong role players by the end of the season.

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WHY NOT: The loss of Liz Perry could be more drastic than expected, plus the team loses All-State first team players Emily Bonk and goalie Erin Foley.

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OFFSEASON BUZZ: If Fenwick can find a replacement in goal for Foley, they could be hoisting the state trophy yet again in 2005.

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2. Stevenson

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WHY: Terri Bukofzer will be a dominant force for the Patriots, as her versatility allows her to play effectively from just about anywhere in the pool; she will also vie for Player of the Year honors...the tandem of Kiersten Kranberg and Jessica Flor split time in goal last season, and both should continue to be effective at the position...Katie Michelau adds a great deal of speed to the lineup and she should step up and have a solid year...the entire starting lineup is loaded with experience, as they return excellent skill players Jesse Shopiro, Aubrey Wanland, Sarah Boedecker, and Sam Gibson.

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WHY NOT: The loss of Keely Wimer hurts, as defenses can focus on shutting down Bukofzer, so the rest of the starting lineup must be able to contribute more on the offensive end.

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OFFSEASON BUZZ: The Patriots have two goalies in Kranberg and Flor that have proven to be effective in the net, and if one of them emerges, Stevenson could be even better than last year.

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PRESEASON PREVIEWS

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Boys Season Preview

Girls Season Preview

 

PRESEASON AWARDS

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All-Illpolo Team (Boys)

All-Illpolo Team (Girls)

 

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3. St. Ignatius

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WHY: The core of the Wolfpack lineup returns, with Nora Kennelly continuing to progress on the offensive end...Yadi Leon is an unbelievable talent on defense and can help shut down most offenses...the team won the Frosh/Soph MCAC Title in 2004, and many of the younger players will add to the depth of the lineup...Maredith Messerle has a chance to score with defenses focusing on Kennelly...Kaitlin Kedzior and Kate Knibbs fill out the starting lineup for the Wolfpack and help make them a definite contender for the state title.

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WHY NOT: They lose the experience of Meg Lenahan and goalie Ann Carney, and will need players to step up and replace them if they expect to get back to state.

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OFFSEASON BUZZ: The team has to be ecstatic about adding talented freshman Maisie O'Malley to the lineup, as she could be a difference-maker for the team in her first season.

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4. Homewood-Flossmoor

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WHY: Lauren Peterson scored 108 goals as a junior for this state qualifying team, and she should be even stronger after working hard this offseason...Amy Thatcher has the speed and versatility to make this team run efficiently, as she is a solid defender, great passer, and can score in transition...Kelsey Christensen is also a scorer and can cause a lot of mismatches for opposing defenses...Sam Baffes is a solid two-meter defender and should have a strong senior season...Stephanie Lassen has a load of experience in goal and can help make the Vikings defense strong...the team has great depth with players like Amanda Owen and Meghan Davidson rounding out the starting lineup.

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WHY NOT: Maredith Nordbrock has been a stalwart in the lineup for her entire career, and the team will need someone to fill that "superstar" role in 2005.

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OFFSEASON BUZZ: The players worked hard in the offseason, including Amy Thatcher, who one coach raved about after seeing her at a tournament in July.

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5. Mother McAuley

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WHY: Maggie Wood scored 25 goals as a freshman and showed that she will make a major impact in the next few years for the Mighty Macs ...Theresa Hennigan is an experienced player who will play a more important role in the starting lineup...Jennifer Valasquez has a ton of talent and should play an important role as a starter...Molly Higgins is an underrated player with solid skills and should have an increased role offensively...Sophomore Lily Gonzalez has a great deal of potential and may also take the next step for McAuley. 

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WHY NOT: They lost a ton of experience and most of their scoring after graduating Bianca Cabrera, Sandra Perez, Megan O'Connell, and Maggie Coghlan. They will also need to replace starting goalie Erin Delaney as well.

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OFFSEASON BUZZ: McAuley has a wide range of young talent that could help get this team back to state once again in 2005.

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6. Evanston

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WHY: Lanier Zimmer performed at a high level in goal for the Wildkits in her junior season; she will be their leader this year and could be the top goalie in the state of Illinois...Grace Hatcher had a nice freshman season and could provide the offense with a spark...Alex Wich is a versatile player who should continue to improve as a sophomore...hole set Jane Igoe could be a nice surprise on offense in her senior year...the rest of the lineup is strong with juniors Amy Reams and Laura Eder, as well as senior Sarah Todd.

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WHY NOT: The team lost their best offensive player in Anna Ditton and their best defensive player in Maggie Hatcher. The returning players will need to step up if Evanston looks to return to state.

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OFFSEASON BUZZ: If Grace Hatcher can continue her rapid improvement, she could help this team contend for a state berth for the next few years.

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7. Naperville Central

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WHY: Almost the entire lineup returns for Central, including a strong presence in goal with Brittany Walk...Sarah Pucci and Kelly McNichols will prove to be a dominant offensive tandem and will keep the Redhawks ahead in almost every game...Denise Oldenburg has the talent and work ethic to help on both the offensive and defensive end; she could be a "difference maker" in 2005...the rest of the starting lineup and the bench is strong and full of speed with Liz Young, Katie Stone, Nikki Nelson, and Taylor Haumiller, who will make things tough for opponents.

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WHY NOT: They haven't won the "big game" yet, falling short to rival Naperville North for a state berth last year. Losing Hannah Eikelberry could also hurt the offense.

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OFFSEASON BUZZ: Jenna Jefferds will be an excellent addition to the lineup; she played for Neuqua Valley last season. Meanwhile, expect freshmen Kara Wilson to make a big impact in her first season.

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8. Sandburg

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WHY: The Eagles feature senior Amanda Cody, who could have a breakout year in 2005...her sister Sam Cody had a quality season as a freshman and could be one of the best younger players in the state...Nicole Srutowski is an underrated talent and adds a great deal of experience to the starting lineup...Allison Schilling is a young player with the potential to make plays for the Eagles...Ami Czerwinski and Hannah Ciurej are also experienced players and add depth to the team.

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WHY NOT: The offensive presence of Beth Haynes and the goalie skills of Alicia Christensen will be missed, and Sandburg must find replacements in order to get to state.

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OFFSEASON BUZZ: The team played together in the summer, and they were very impressive in winning a mid-July tournament against a handful of competitive teams.

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9. Lyons Township

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WHY: Returning starter Laura Ansilio is a highly versatile player who could see some time in goal as well as play anywhere in the field; she should have a tremendous year...Sarah Trilla is a talented scorer who looks to lead the team on the offensive end...Driver Mae Harris causes matchup problems for most defenses, and she could have a breakout year...the rest of the lineup is filled with strong role players who should step up and help the team win a lot of games.

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WHY NOT: They always face tough opponents wherever they end up for sectionals, and the song will likely remain the same in 2005.

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OFFSEASON BUZZ: The Lions beat Oak Park once last season, and the two teams should be neck-and-neck at the top of the West Suburban Conference once again this year.

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10. Neuqua Valley

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WHY: After an up-and-down season, Neuqua should get back on track with their returning players. Kayley Provow got solid experience in goal as a freshman, and she should be stellar in the net in her first full season as a starter. Amanda Herzog, Meghan Patterson, Amanda Walde, Elise Englehard, Kaylin Young, and a slew of others should have the Wildcats back in the mix this season.

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WHY NOT: The rest of the teams in the Naperville area will be tough and teams like Naperville North and Waubonsie Valley could leapfrog them in the rankings. The Wildcats will also need to find leaders to replace graduates Deni Stritch and Amanda Adducci.

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OFFSEASON BUZZ: Provow is a great talent in goal, got a wealth of experience in the second half of the season last year, and has the ability to keep Neuqua Valley close in every single game. 

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11. Oak Park

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WHY THEY'LL MOVE UP: With All-State goalie Stella Brown returning, the Huskies will have a chance to win every time they get in the pool. Lauren Daggett will be called upon to provide the offense after Oak Park lost first team All-State player Kendra Betke. Emily Japlon will be a strong player for the Huskies as well.

 

12. Loyola

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WHY THEY'LL MOVE UP: The Ramblers return young talent in Colleen Shaw and Jackie Sershon, but they must find replacements for Liz Principe and Katie Shehan and adjust to a new coach in order to move up the rankings.

 

13. New Trier

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WHY THEY'LL MOVE UP: The Trevians return most of their starting lineup in 2005, including Allie Hamm, who should have a breakout year. Molly Twigg and a handful of others will give New Trier a chance at cracking the Top 10 by the end of the season.

 

14. Waubonsie Valley

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WHY THEY'LL MOVE UP: The Warriors have mostly everyone back after a solid 2004 campaign. Lisa Rudolph is an underrated player who could become a star this season. She will be helped by Lori Roskens, talented freshman Bailey Gucinski and a strong supporting cast on the offensive end.

 

15. Naperville North

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WHY THEY'LL MOVE UP: Sarah Fitch is a solid defensive player, and she could step into a larger offensive role with Kim Buck gone. Brandie Savino and Julie DeBruin should both emerge as scorers and will need to for the Huskies to build off last year's state qualifying performance.

 

16. Mundelein

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WHY THEY'LL MOVE UP: The Mustangs have a great deal of young talent, but will need a few players to step into leadership roles in 2005. Dhara Pandya will be strong for the Mustangs on offense, while Siobhan Larsen has speed and talent and could emerge as an impact player for Mundelein. Christine Rowley, Bree Longfield, Lauren Nelson, Elizabeth Klink, Clara Illing and a few others could step up as well.

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17. Latin

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WHY THEY'LL MOVE UP: Perla Almarez started off what should be a stellar career as a freshman; she has the talent to lead Latin up near the Top 10 by the end of the year.

 

18. Prospect/Wheeling

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WHY THEY'LL MOVE UP: Liz Dix is coming off a stellar season in goal and should play a big role in keeping the Wild Knights at the top of the MSL...Patti Blatter is a strong defender, Katelyn Fairburn is a talented offensive player, Alli Luft provides balance on both end of the pool, and junior Bethany Jacobs could be a surprise player for the team in 2005.

 

19. St. Viator

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WHY THEY'LL MOVE UP: They feature a talented all-around player on offense with junior Sarah Ostling returning...she is supported by returning players Ashley Rivard, Ashley Belbin, Megan Barry, and Sarah Hlavin...the Lions will need someone to step up in goal in order to improve on last season's finish.

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20. Libertyville

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WHY THEY'LL MOVE UP: Sophomore Rachel Sparks has speed and talent and can carry the team in many games, while her sister Sarah Sparks has a great deal of experience; they give the Wildcats a formidable tandem that can keep Libertyville in the mix in 2005 if they can adjust to a new coach.

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