Girls water polo: Wrona sparks Hersey to MSL championship with win vs. Fremd

Hersey went in and came out with a title.

Victoria Wrona, who plays inside for the Huskies, found her scoring touch in the second quarter. The senior scored three of her four goals in the period to lead Hersey to a 12-10 over Fremd in the Mid-Suburban League girls water polo championship in Palatine.

It was the second consecutive MSL title for Hersey (17-6-2). The Huskies beat Conant last year and have won three of the last four MSL titles.

“No one is going to stop Victoria,” said Hersey coach Megan Brownley, whose team has beaten Fremd three times this season.

“She is an absolute powerhouse. She is a gamer. She is so competitive and she does not like to lose. She wants the ball and she wants to score and she certainly did that. She dominated the game.”

Wrona, who plays inside for Hersey, was stymied in the first quarter by a staunch Fremd defense along with Vikings goalie Mia Patla. That forced the Huskies to go outside to Melissa Loch (3 goals) and Avery Born (2 goals).

“I think a lot of teams recognize that Victoria is a great player,” said Loch, who along with Born, each scored two goals in the game. “So when they crash on her, she does a great job of looking to the outside. Having confidence in myself as well as my teammates to shoot from the outside, it is incredible what we have been able to accomplish.”

The duo combined for three goals as Hersey led 3-2 after the first quarter. It could have been an even bigger lead, but Patla, who will play club water polo at Purdue next year, had five of her 12 saves in the period.

But with Fremd focusing on Hersey’s outside game, it was time for Wrona to take over. She scored the game’s next two goals and one later in the quarter as the Huskies opened an 8-4 lead.

“I have been working on my game all season and the hard work is paying off,” said Wrona, who also will play at Purdue next season. “Once I get the ball I can find a way. I know I can depend on my teammates. They are so capable and they can score as well. When they crash on me, I know I can count on all my teammates.”

Hersey opened a 10-5 lead with 5:18 left in the third quarter when Wrona tallied her fifth goal of the game.

Fremd (19-9-1) then began to chip away at the lead. The Vikings got a trio of goals from Elly Jo Fay, who finished with four goals, to make it 11-9 with 4:42 to play.

The teams then traded goals with Hersey’s Emily Steinberg scoring and Fremd’s Reese Winegar, who had four goals, tallying to make it 12-10 with 3:02 left.

Fremd had a golden opportunity to make it a one-goal deficit with 52 seconds left. But Hersey’s Coco Schulz turned Fremd’s Addison Newby away with a huge save.

Hersey and Fremd could be on a collision course for a fourth meeting this year. Hersey is the top seed at the Hoffman Estates sectional and Fremd is No. 2.

“We are playing really well now,” Brownley said. “And with the state playoffs starting next week, that is important.”

Fremd coach Theresa Knowles said her team fought back hard.

“We have to be so proud ourselves,” Knowles said, “We came back hard in the second half. I thought Mia (Patla) kept us in the game. She was all-conference for a reason. Now we are focused now on sectionals.”

Caterina Gaido and Kate Rothmeyer also scored for Fremd. Hersey also got a goal from Clare Corley.

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