This time, fate favored Wheeling.
The Wildcats narrowly missed out on a spot in the Mid-Suburban League girls water polo championship last year, as Hersey advanced to the title game based on divisional tie-breaking criterion.
Wheeling didn't want that to come into play this year, and had a chance to do something about it in its own pool Wednesday night as both the Wildcats and Huskies entered the game with 1 loss and 2 games left in the division.
Wheeling won 7-5, thus assuring itself of a spot in the league championship game irrespective of the outcome of a final divisional game against Buffalo Grove.
"I believe in karma," said Wheeling coach Bob Savitt. "It was nice to have this game at our place."
On senior night for the Wildcats, senior Emily Sowa scored twice and junior Theresa Godlewski was a force, getting 5 goals.
Senior co-captain Rachel Ropski said a key component of Wheeling's win was the ability to stick together through tough times.
"We've had to adjust to a lot of surprises this season," Ropski said. "I just know that everybody was really ready to play today."
Wheeling jumped ahead 4-1 in the second period as Godlewski scored three times with Hersey defending the shallow end.
But Hersey's defense stiffened, as Monmouth-bound goalie Natalie Curtis produced a stunning variety of impressive saves in the deep end in the third quarter. Three straight Hersey goals bridging the third and fourth quarters, two of them from Stephanie Surkin, helped Hersey (17-3, 7-2) tie it up at 5-5.
In the end, Godlewski made the difference as she first finished what first looked like a doomed possession with a snappy goal and later got free on a counter, rifling home the game's final goal from mid-pool with 3:03 left.
"Everybody on this team is really close, and that makes all the difference," Godlewski said. "Nobody likes to be yelled at, but when it's your best friend doing the yelling, it's a whole lot easier to take."
Wheeling improved to 14-5 overall and 8-1 in the East. The Wildcats will face either Palatine or Conant in the MSL championship game.
Conant 18, Hoffman Estates 2: Carmen Rosas (7 goals) and Angie Skittone (5) helped the Cougars protect their 1-game lead over Palatine in the MSL West by topping the Hawks. Conant (19-5, 9-0), which defeated the Pirates by 5 goals in their first meeting at Palatine, can clinch its first divisional title Monday with a victory, or a loss by fewer than 5 goals.
Hersey will make a repeat appearance in the Mid-Suburban League boys water polo championship game after wrapping up an outright East Division championship.
The Huskies will meet Palatine, which finalized the West Division title.
Hersey sealed the deal by topping visiting Wheeling 11-6 at Olympic Pool on Wednesday.
George Vladimirov scored 4 goals to pace the Huskies (15-2, 9-0), and Jack Carroll had 3, while Nate Reiff and Noah Ihde had 2 apiece to lead Wheeling (10-13, 5-4).
Palatine delivered an impressive 15-4 win at Barrington. Kristiyan Kalev led the way with 7 goals for the Pirates (13-3, 9-0), and Omar El Hoffi had 3.