For players like Barrington's Kelly Meckert and Lisa Danhauer, it was nice to see a game against Fremd turn out a little bit differently. It didn't bother their coach, Mark Markwell, either.
The last time the Fillies had beaten Fremd in a girls water polo game was 2007, so Tuesday's outcome -- 11-8 in favor of Barrington in Palatine -- was memorable. Especially so for Barrington, because during that span of frustration, the Fillies were always clearly the second-best team in the Mid-Suburban West.
But with Fremd's consecutive run of MSL titles and state qualification, second-best was starting to be little consolation.
With the Vikings having graduated a senior-laden team that had been largely responsible for the program's three most recent Elite Eight appearances, the balance of power has shifted to Barrington.
Players such as Meckert, Danhauer, Catherine Byron and Grace Buenrostro are the main reasons why. While Fremd's players are still gaining valuable big-game experience, Barrington's key players are battle-tested.
"It's working out really well for us," said Danhauer, who finished with a game-high 5 goals against Fremd. "It's almost like we don't have to say much out there -- we just look at each other, and we know."
The victory puts Barrington (9-1, 5-0) out front in the MSL West.
Fremd (9-5, 4-1) is 1 game back, and coach Ray Roth couldn't be prouder of his team.
"I'm really happy with everybody, really," he said. "We had such a senior-heavy team last year that a lot of this year's seniors didn't get the seasoning that players of their ability usually have by this point."
The game was tight through the end of the second quarter, when a goal by Fremd's Mandy Borre tied it at 4-4. But consecutive goals from Meckert and Danhauer helped put Barrington back in front 6-4 at halftime.
Barrington outscored Fremd 3-1 in the third quarter, and Byron scored on a nice lob on the Fillies' first possession of the fourth quarter to give her team a 10-5 lead.
Fremd didn't fade, though, and Jena Teragawachi and Tori Boldt scored the last two goals to keep it interesting.
"After our last timeout," Roth said, "I just told the girls, 'Give me two things -- one, stop them. And two, give me something at the other end.' And that's exactly what they did."
The teams will meet again at Barrington in a game that will likely decide the eventual MSL West champ. Markwell remains focused on improving his team's skill set.
"We can be better at everything," he said. "Every conference game is important, and that's where our focus is."
But make no mistake that Barrington is aware that a trip to the state tournament is a very real possibility this year.
"Making it to state is one of our goals," said Meckert. "We really hope to have a shot at that later on."
Schaumburg 6, Conant 4: Britney Vasquez scored 3 goals and Krystal Vezzetti had 2 as the Saxons held on after outscoring the Cougars 5-1 in the first half.
Angela Skittone led the way for Conant with 3 goals.
Palatine 15, Hoffman Estates 7: Rachel Chumbook powered home 12 goals and goalie Kim Butler had 9 saves to help the host Pirates past the Hawks in MSL West play. Kasia Serwin led Hoffman Estates with 3 goals.
Prospect 13, Rolling Meadows 4: Katlyn Tomasetti scored 4 goals and Kallie Shields had 3 to power the Knights in MSL East action.