Girls water polo: Stevenson nips Hersey in state semifinal
History was not on Hersey's side in Friday's girls water polo state semifinal game against Stevenson.
The Patriots, who have won three straight state championships, are considered royalty in the sport. Stevenson has won 15 consecutive sectional titles, thus planning a trip to state is the norm on its schedule.
Hersey is on the other end of the spectrum, advancing to state for the first time in program history.
Stevenson relied on its history, scoring 4 goals in the third quarter to pull out a 7-6 win over Hersey at Fenwick High School. The Patriots (28-2) advance to Saturday's highly-anticipated 6 p.m. championship game against undefeated Naperville North (28-0).
Stevenson's Faith Ma scored the decisive goal in the third quarter. Maria Mossakowski led the Patriots with 2 goals.
Meanwhile, Naperville North defeated New Trier 12-6 in the first semifinal on Friday. Naperville North enters the state final chasing history, and notched a 10-4 win over the Patriots on May 15.
"Every one of our starters was on the team that won the state (title) two years ago," Stevenson coach Jeff Wimer said after his state-record 701st victory. "They know the experience and what state is about. We weren't rattled, but at the same time, we shot a lot and had to keep shooting to put the ball in. It was exciting. We're looking forward to Saturday. We have to play four full quarters."
Hersey (18-2) reached the semifinals by defeating Lane 10-6 in the quarterfinals, but the Huskies couldn't continue their season-long magic against the state-tested Patriots.
"It was a great game," Hersey coach Mary Brownley said. "Stevenson did everything we thought they would, from double-teaming Annie (Lindgren) and scoring on counters. We tried to limit that as much as possible. We had some of our role players do some shooting, but it was off today."
The defensive battle featured only 1 goal in the fourth quarter, with the Huskies cutting the deficit to 7-6 with 4:39 left. The Patriots limited Hersey star Annie Lindgren to 3 goals.
"I think we were excited to be the underdog and had nothing to lose and we wanted to prove that we belonged here," Brownley said. "I'm happy we made it this far. Overall, the girls played great for never having been here."
At 6-foot-2, Stevenson senior goalie Maggie Bauwens was an active presence in the net, She finished with 17 saves.
"It was a great environment and defense wins championships and our team played great defense today," she said. "I was really excited to finally be out there after last year. The team really helped me, and it was very exciting."
Mossakowski said the Patriots are focused on adding to the team's state legacy on Saturday.
"We're all proud to keep the Stevenson legacy going, but we're also building a name for ourselves," Mossakowski said. "We're the first team to go through a quarantine, then a quarantine in the season and playing through a pandemic. We're proud of ourselves for every step of the way, so no matter what happens, we've done something no (Stevenson) team has done before."