SECTIONAL FINALS 2013
Dreams come true and seasons come to an end around this time of year. For
the 32 teams seeking one more win in order to qualify for the 2013 state
water polo tournament, 'Sectional Final Saturday' is the biggest day on the
season's calendar. Here is your guide to all of the action on Saturday, May
Fenwick vs (2) Lyons
The Friars have racked up two double-digit wins in this year's playoffs to
help them forget last weekend's Catholic League semifinal loss to St
Ignatius. The Lions' overcame a fourth quarter deficit with a 3-0 run to
beat York in last night's semifinal round. With both teams carrying a good
deal of momentum into this matchup, who will gain the upperhand in this
traditionally epic battle between the two teams when a state berth is on the
line? Fenwick won last year's sectional final game 7-6 in double-overtime on
a goal by Haley Wickham. The Lions are hopeful things will be that close
this time around, considering the only meeting between the two teams back in
Week 5 resulted in a 9-4 Fenwick victory.
Questions: Can the Friars quickly recover from last weekend's
disappointing loss to St Ignatius and make it back to the state tournament
to defend their title? Will the home pool advantage play a role in Fenwick's
potential success? Can the Lions channel their late-season momentum and make
things as difficult as they did for Fenwick in last year's sectional final?
(1) Barrington vs (2) Fremd
Barrington survived a scare from Conant in the semifinal round on Friday and
escaped with a 9-8 win to advance to the sectional final. They won't be able
to start out slowly against a Fremd team that took care of business against
Hersey on Friday night and always seems to know how to win in the postseason
in crucial games. The Fillies did beat out the Vikings for the MSL West
title this season, but the Vikings won the most recent meeting between the
two teams 13-12 on April 23. Barrington will hoping things go more like
their April 2 contest with Fremd, which saw the Fillies earn an 11-8 win
behind Lisa Danhauer's five goal performance. The Vikings will be hoping
things go more like last year's sectional final, which they 11-3 to advance
to the state tournament.
Questions: Will the Vikings be able to take advantage of playing at
home? Can the Fremd defense stop a Barrington offense that is loaded with a
variety of weapons that can be hard to handle?
GLENBROOK NORTH SECTIONAL
(1) New Trier vs (2) Loyola
It took a last-second goal by Samantha Padavic for New Trier to beat Loyola
back on April 12. That was a major improvement for the Ramblers from last
year's sectional final game, which saw the Trevians qualify for state with a
15-9 victory. Are the two squads due for another epic chapter in their long
rivalry on Saturday with another state berth on the line? Loyola will be
tasked with stopping a balanced Trevian offense led by Alexana Astor. On the
other end, New Trier will attempt to put the clamps on both Evan Swenson and
Marta Considine, two highly-prolific scorers for Rich Schici's bunch. Both
teams also boast talented goaltenders in Hannah Caywood (New Trier) and
Meredith O'Brien (Loyola), so goals could be at a premium in this contest.
Questions: Which defense will be able to limit their opponents'
quality scoring chances and stay out of foul trouble? Which team's go-to
player will have the standout performance and potentially carry their team
to a state tournament appearance?
(1) Lincoln-Way Central vs (2) Lincoln-Way North
Last season, Lincoln-Way North beat Lincoln-Way Central in both regular
season meetings but didn't have the chance to face them for a state berth
after the Phoenix lost to H-F in the sectional semifinals. This time around,
the Knights earned a pair of two-goal wins over North, but now the Phoenix
get their long awaited chance to face Central with a state tournament berth
on the line. Will the Knights pick up where they left off last season after
making their first state tournament appearance, or is it Lincoln-Way North's
turn to make the journey to state for the first time in school history?
Questions: Can the Phoenix find a way to limit Danijela Jackovich on
the offensive end? Which Knights' player will step up if the North defense
is successful in stopping their star player? Can LWN build an early lead to
shake the confidence of a Central team that knows how to win in the
12:00pm (1) Mundelein vs (2)
Mundelein had no trouble returning to the sectional final round after a year
away; they earned convincing wins over Libertyville and Vernon Hills to get
to within a game of the state tournament. Meanwhile, the Patriots are in
familiar territory as they look to repeat as sectional champions after
disposing of Wheeling and Lake Forest in the previous two rounds. So it's
time for a good, old-fashioned battle between rivals on Saturday afternoon,
with the Mustangs hoping to repeat their 7-5 victory over Stevenson back in
Questions: Have the Patriots been able to figure out a way to stop
Allison Boothe, Karrie Kozokar, and company from getting on the scoreboard
repeatedly? Will the Mustangs be able to make the in-game adjustments to
react to whatever game plan the Patriots have brought to the table? Who will
win the chess match between experienced coaches Drew Schneider (Mundelein)
and Jeff Wimer (Stevenson)?
(1) Naperville North vs (2) Naperville Central
The Huskies and Redhawks split the regular season series (1-1) in 2013, so
the rubber match between the two rivals will fittingly result in a state
tournament berth for whatever team is victorious on Saturday at Neuqua
Valley. North had little trouble getting to this position, as they dominated
STC East and wore out the sectional hosts in their semifinal contest on
Friday night. The Redhawks had a few more hiccups, as they trailed STC North
6-4 late in their semifinal contest before a 6-0 run propelled them back to
the familiar position of a sectional final.
Questions: Can the Huskies' youth overcome the Redhawks' experience
when the two teams clash on Saturday? Can the Redhawks regroup after
expending so much energy to get past the North Stars less than 24 hours ago?
Who will be the one player that has a big enough impact to get her
respective team to the state tournament with a win?
(1) Mother McAuley vs (2) Sandburg
The Mighty Macs and Eagles have made it through the playoffs as per usual to
meet up for what seems like their annual sectional final contest. Sandburg
has yet to break through, though they will be hoping their late-season
momentum can help them pull off an upset of the state's top-ranked team.
Meanwhile, Mother McAuley couldn't be faulted for basking in the glory of
their Catholic League title from last week, but their experienced squad
knows what it takes to win big games and they will assuredly not be looking
past Sandburg in tomorrow's contest. The Mighty Macs will be hoping their
balanced attack can help them repeat their early-season victory over the
Eagles, when Amy Kopale, Clare Bryar, and Vicky Arciniega each scored 3
goals in a 9-5 win. Sandburg will likely call on top defender Lauren Olson
and goalie Alona King to help limit McAuley from scoring in double-digits,
like they did in last year's 15-8 sectional final victory.
Questions: Can the Eagles' defense, led by Olson and King, limit the
well-balanced offensive attack of Mother McAuley? Will the officiating have
any impact on the physical play of both teams? Can Sandburg's
vastly-improved offense match the offensive firepower of the Mighty Macs if
this becomes a high-scoring affair?
(1) St Ignatius
vs (2) Lane
The Wolfpack would have to be considered heavy favorites to win their own
sectional when they take on Lane on Saturday night. But don't count your
chickens and all of that. In last year's final game, Ignatius fended off a
scrappy Indians' team 10-7 to advance to the state tournament, so the hosts
would be wise not to overlook one of the biggest underdogs remaining in the
2013 playoffs. St Ignatius blends a mix of youth and experience as they make
their usual late season charge, while Lane also has a solid core of
experienced players from last year's squad that has been in this position
before. The Wolfpack will point to their 13-3 regular season victory over
the Indians for confidence, while Lane would be quick to add that game was
nearly two months ago, and they have made major strides since then.
Questions: Will the Wolfpack's younger players be able to overcome
their nerves in the high-stress position of a do-or-die game? Can the
Indians limit the offensive strike force of Becky Insalaco, Tammy Stelnicki,
Rebecca Martinez, and company? Will St Ignatius be able to make adjustments
if either Natalie O'Connell or Carmen Savolainen have a major impact on the
offensive end in the early stages of the game?