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  By Aaron Brown

  May 2013


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Only eight teams remain in the state water polo playoffs in 2013. The sectional winners meet for a total of four contests to determine which teams will continue playing on Saturday for a chance at a state title. Here is your guide to all of the action on Thursday, May 16:





4:30pm Lincoln-Way Central vs Loyola

The Knights made a triumphant return to the state tournament by beating Lincoln-Way North for the third time in 2013; they head into the quarterfinal round hoping to last until Saturday for the first time in team history. Meanwhile, the Ramblers shocked New Trier with a goal in the closing seconds of the GBN Sectional title game when Marta Considine made a key steal and assisted Evan Swenson on the game-winning goal. Central relies on senior Danijela Jackovich on both the offensive and defensive ends, but they boast a solid cast of players that includes Beth Senese, Kristi Howe, Liz Klock and goalie Caroline Foglton, all who are capable of being difference-makers in a big game. Loyola relies heavily on both Considine and Swenson for a large portion of their offense, but Allison Sajnaj, Emily Barr, and Katie Lynch all play an important role for head coach Rich Schici's squad.


Questions: Which player will step up for the Knights if the Ramblers focus on shutting down Jackovich? How will the Central defense stop both Considine and Swenson if both players continue working well together on the offensive end?


Previous meeting: The two teams did not meet in 2013.




5:45pm Barrington vs Mundelein

The Fillies and Mustangs both return to the state tournament after a bit of a hiatus. Barrington finally got past Fremd in a sectional final to earn a shot at a state trophy, while Mundelein came-from-behind to beat Stevenson to earn their spot amongst the final eight teams. The two met early in the season in a nonconference contest, with the Mustangs claiming an overtime victory back in March. That was much earlier in the season, but it could mean the teams are in for another close contest on Thursday in the second quarterfinal game. Barrington has a variety of weapons they will look to for scoring, as Kelly Meckert, Catherine Byron, Lisa Danhauer, Kayla Widdowson, and Sam Gavars are all capable of racking up goals for this season's Mid-Suburban League champions. Mundelein will rely on the 1-2 punch of Allison Boothe and Karrie Kozokar for their offensive production, but they have a variety of players like Courtney Perrault, Hannah Davidson, and Michelle Barron that are more than capable of making a big difference for the state's fourth-ranked squad.


Questions: Will the Fillies have goaltender Maddy Burrell back for this contest after she missed out on the sectional playoffs from the lingering effects of a concussion? Can the Mustangs ride their momentum after coming back from a 5-1 deficit to beat Stevenson in the final minute of their sectional final game last weekend?


Previous meeting: The Mustangs survived a 15-12 overtime thriller against the Fillies on March 20. Karrie Kozokar scored 5 times and Allison Boothe scored 4 goals for Mundelein in their winning effort. Lisa Danhauer and Kelly Meckert combined to score 7 times in the loss for Barrington.




7:00pm Naperville Central vs St Ignatius

The Redhawks fought hard to get back to the state tournament after losing the core of last year's state runner-up squad to graduation. There are several players remaining with state experience, so Central will hope to get their groove back as the underdogs in this year's quarterfinal round game with SICP. Meanwhile, the Wolfpack haven't lost a step after a third-place finish in 2013, blending a mix of youth and experience to finish the season as the state's second-ranked team heading into the night's third quarterfinal contest. The Redhawks main weapons include Kaela Codo, Kristina Altuve, Madison Nervig, Leslie Calabrese, and Michelle Spaits, while Erin Reagan took over the reins in goal at the midseason point and spearheads the Naperville Central defense. St Ignatius blends the experience of potent scorers Becky Insalaco, Maggie Maloney, Rebecca Martinez, and Tammy Stelnicki with freshmen Diana Fernandez and Jenny Stelnicki (who has started in goal in her first high school season).


Questions: Both teams include freshmen in their respective starting lineups; which young players will adapt best to the pressure of their first state tournament appearance? Will two of the best defenses in the state be able to keep the score low? Which team has the advantage if the game quickly turns into a shootout in the opening quarter?


Previous meeting: The two teams did not meet in 2013.




8:15pm Fenwick vs Mother McAuley

Two Catholic League powerhouses meet in the last quarterfinal on Thursday night; both teams have plenty of reason to be optimistic about their chances to win a state title if they can emerge with a victory in the grand finale of the first night of the state tournament. The Mighty Macs won the Catholic League title and the Stagg Sectional in successive weeks, jumping to the top spot in the rankings in the process. Meanwhile, the Friars are a 27-win outfit that won the regular season title in the MCAC and beat Mother McAuley 5-3 in their early season meeting in March. The Mighty Macs lineup is as strong as it has ever been, with Amy Kopale, Clare Bryar, Fran Williamson, Kristen Kleist, Meg Golon, and Vicky Arciniega all expected to make major contributions over the weekend. The Friars also boast a ton of depth, starting with the trio of Alexa Ovalle, Cara Borkovec, and Colleen Barron while also featuring Catie Wallace, Haley Wickham, Maggie Sheean, Paige Kohut and more.


Questions: If the teams play a low scoring game like they did in their first meeting, which key player will step up to make a big play in crunch time? Which goalie will have the bigger impact if goals are at a premium? Can the Friars survive until Saturday's semifinal round for a chance to defend their title, or will Arciniega, Bryar and company have enough in the tank to ensure there is a new state champion in 2013?


Previous meeting: The Friars beat Mother McAuley 5-3 in a conference game on March 13. Cara Borkovec and Alexa Ovalle scored all five goals for Fenwick in the win. Amy Kopale, Kristen Kleist, and Fran Williamson were the three goal-scorers for the Mighty Macs.





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