The Evanston Township High School girls water polo team knows what it must do to be crowned sectional champions, one of their goals for this season. The last time the Wildkits won sectionals was in 2005, where they finished third in state.
First-year Head Coach Claire Howie says, “I’d like to see us win [Central Suburban League South [Conference and Sectionals.” She adds, “I believe we’re facing two really tough teams [in Loyola and New Trier] in order to do that. We realize we have to play a perfect game in order to [beat those two].”
The Wildkits lost to Loyola 7-12 in Evanston on March 25. “We have to keep up our defense. I’ve been pleased with it so far. But we need to pick our offense up and take it to the next level,” said Howie.
The offense had a strong performance on April 15, scoring ten goals and beating Glenbrook South, 10-5. “I thought we did well in that game,” said Howie. “GBS runs a similar defense to Loyola and the girls were able to recognize that and knew how to attack it and I was very pleased with that,” she added.
The Kits were 1-3 in the Fenwick Invitational on April 8-10. The Fenwick is “the ‘invite’ you want to be in, because you see some of the best teams in the State,” said Howie.
In the first game of the Fenwick Invite, the Kits lost to Mother McAuley, 8-6. They totaled 27 steals in that game, 14 by junior Sarah Thompson. “On paper, we had no business being in that game and it showed we are a team to watch,” said the Coach.
The Kits’ next game in the tournament had the same result. They fell to Loyola once again, 14-4. Against Lyons, the Kits were shut-out, 18-0; they beat Neuqua Valley, 6-2.
Regarding Neuqua Valley, Howie said, “They played great.” She added, “[Senior goalie] Claire Strunk had 19 saves. Our defense was flawless and our offense finally fell into place.”
The Kits’ played their final home game of the year on April 20 and beat Latin High School, 8-3. Junior Ellis O’Connor led the Kits with four goals. Two days later, they beat archrival New Trier 6-5 in Winnetka.
On April 23-24, the Kits played in the Naperville Central tournament. There they beat Jenison, 10-5, lost to Naperville Central, 11-3, and beat Sandburg, 7-6. As of April 26, the Kits record stood at 15-9 overall and 8-0 in conference.
The Kits remaining schedule included a visit to Fenwick yesterday (April 27), the day this paper goes to press. Next up is Mundelein on May 4. On May 7 and 8 they participate in the Central Suburban League tournament. The season finale is May 11 against GBS. The third-seeded Kits will play their first game in the GBS Sectional on May 13 against GBS. If they win, they play the winner of New Trier and St. Viator on May 14.
If the Kits can play the way they have in Conference the rest of the way, look for them to finish the season on a high note.