Water polo: Fremd boys, Hersey girls win sectional titles at Hoffman Estates

Two invitations to next weekend's boys and girls state water polo finals at Stevenson High School were on the line at Hoffman Estates Saturday afternoon.

When it was all said and done it was Tim Daniel's Fremd boys team earning a repeat ticket with an 8-4 win over a Schaumburg squad it had lost to back in March. And Megan Brownley Hersey’s girls club earned a fourth consecutive trip to Lincolnshire beating Fremd 9-4 for a fourth consecutive time this spring.

Boys final:

The game came down to how Fremd could respond to the continuous challenges Schaumburg brought to them after the fourth-seeded Vikings had built an early 3-1 advantage in the second period.

After junior Matt Telluch's third tally brought the second-seeded Saxons (20-9) within 5-4 midway through the third, another junior stepped up to lead Fremd's counter-response.

Tyler Franke's fourth score of the day on a penalty shot with 2:27 left in the period led to the decisive surge. Teammates Adem Arslanagic and Braeden Newby followed with goals in the final 1:22 of the third giving the Vikings the cushion it needed as senior netminder Ansh Parikh snared five of his seven saves in the final stanza.

That preserved the final score and sent Fremd (17-15-1) to a Thursday evening quarterfinal vs. Whitney Young (23-6).

Franke spoke of how valuable last spring's postseason run played in the contest.

"We've kind of been preparing for this all year. In the past we let (our) emotions get to us, but this year the strategy was to stay calm and that's what helped us. I think the experience paid off."

Girls final:

After two periods of play, top-seeded Hersey found themselves looking to get free from a feisty Fremd unit it had beaten three times before. Hersey was only ahead by a goal (4-3) heading into half number two.

That's when senior co-captain Victoria Wrona took over scoring three goals in decisive third period that led the Huskies to their fourth straight Elite Eight where they will face another group of Huskies from Naperville North in a Friday evening quarterfinal bout at Stevenson.

North (32-1) bested Metea Valley (26-4) 13-8 to win the Neuqua Valley sectional crown. It defeated Hersey 11-7 in March.

"These girls -- -a couple of them I pulled up (to varsity) as freshmen, so this is their fourth time being here," Brownley said. "I told (them) before the game this is their last sectional final but hopefully not your last game, so let's win another game."

In addition to Wrona's hat trick, sophomore Emily Steinberg would score her second goal in the third that gave them control of the contest.

Fellow sophomore Melissa Loch added a third score in the fourth as junior goalie Coco Schultz held the second-seeded Vikings (21-10-1) at bay with an 11-save effort that earned her player of the game honors and possession of a stuffed Huskie named Nanook for the next few days.

"She was insane, she stepped up, she blocked them (Fremd) off," Wrona said.

Leaving Schultz to figure out what to give Nanook for Saturday dinner.

"Pasta, I guess," Schultz said with a smile. "I think that would be appropriate."

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