Girls water polo
Scouting the Mid-Suburban League championship game
Hersey (12-10) at Barrington (21-3)
When: 6 p.m. Wednesday
Outlook: The highest-scoring squad from the Mid-Suburban League, Barrington, hosts the league's stingiest defensive squad from Hersey.
Barrington went 9-1 to win the MSL West and snap Fremd's impressive run of divisional dominance, while Hersey is making its first title game appearance after finishing 9-1 in the East and winning a tiebreaker with Wheeling (also 9-1) to advance.
The Fillies are a senior-led team featuring reliable scoring from players such as Lisa Danhauer, Kelly Meckert, Catherine Byron and Grace Buenrostro. Coach Mark Markwell emphasizes an all-around approach to the game -- taking advantage of fastbreak opportunities when they're present, but also being patient and working for specific shots through longer possessions.
Hersey's best play has come in the second half of the season. With goalie Natalie Curtis stopping many shots lesser athletes wouldn't reach and defenders with size, strength and savvy all over the pool, the Huskies were able to elevate their play for all the key games down the stretch, including a 6-2 win against Wheeling and a 4-1 decision over Buffalo Grove.
Hole defender Jill Hoffman and offensive standouts Katie Lindholm, Karolina Szymaszek and Kelly Johnson will likely need productive games to help the Huskies hang with Barrington.
Looking ahead: Both Barrington and Hersey will compete in the sectional hosted by Fremd next week. Barrington is the No. 1 seed, followed by Fremd, Hersey and Elk Grove.
Wheeling drew the No. 3 seed (behind Mundelein and Stevenson) in the Mundelein sectional, and Palatine is No. 4.
-- Aaron Gabriel