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updated: 5/24/2014 8:52 PM

Travetto pilots Stevenson to third place

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By Bill Pemstein
Daily Herald Correspondent

So how did Stevenson water polo teammates Allison Travetto and Lauren Burns celebrate their team's third-place state finish? They hopped on a plane and headed to California.

Sounds like plan. But what were they up to on this ride across the country?

"They are both on the national development team for water polo," said Stevenson coach Jeff Wimer. "They needed to catch the 7:40 (p.m.) plane so they had to go to the airport."

But what about Ms. Travetto? She scored a stunning 6 goals Saturday evening in the final match of the season for the Patriots, who were competing in their home pool. In fact, that was one more goal than foe Mother McAuley scored all day long.

Stevenson (31-5) went home with the third-place trophy after a convincing 9-5 win.

Clearly this oversized trophy took the sting out of not competing for a state title. Despite 5 goals from Melissa Gartenberg and 3 more from Travetto, the Pats fell to St. Ignatius 15-8 in Saturday morning's semifinal.

"It's not first, but we ended on a positive note," said Gartenberg, who finished the season with 115 goals, second most on the team to Travetto's 152.

Gartenberg, a junior, noted her teammates didn't hang their heads after falling to St. Ignatius.

"We all went out to lunch," Gartenberg said. "We did our cheers and it worked."

The first quarter belonged to the 16-year-old sophomore Travetto. It was Travetto 4, Mother McAuley 2.

"She was incredible," Wimer said. "She is such a pure shooter."

Wimer also saluted fellow 16-year-old Gartenberg.

"They are our two best players," Wimer said. "Allison led us in scoring but Melissa led us in assists, steals and pickoffs. She was all over the pool."

There wasn't much action in the second quarter. Ashley Oliver, a senior, scored the lone goal of the quarter, giving the Patriots a 5-2 lead.

Clearly, senior goalie Becky Callen was keeping the Mighty Macs at bay.

"Becky played a phenomenal game," Wimer said.

Callen earned 11 saves in this final match. Despite playing in the third-place game, Wimer knew his Patriots, who lost to Mother McAuley in April, were determined to be ready.

"We had a lot more gas left for this game," Wimer said. "We knew they ran a play called 'chicken wing' and we knew how to control it. Our defense won this game."

Travetto tallied again in the third quarter. Sara Ploch also scored, giving the Pats a 7-2 lead midway through the quarter.

Travetto scored her sixth and final goal halfway through the fourth quarter. Gartenberg notched the Patriots' final goal of the season. And then she was ready to make some predictions.

"Next year, we will be back here and win a state championship," Gartenberg said. "We have good team bonding and we are really close. I'm glad we finished on a positive note. You really learn more from losing. I'm glad we came back stronger for this game."

Wimer had no complaints about this group.

"They had a chemistry and camaraderie second to none," he said. "We had a freshman through seniors, and they all got along. I'm blessed with this group."

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