Girls water polo: Hersey falls to New Trier, but is thrilled with state trophy
New Trier senior Bridget McKenna focused on all the positives following Saturday's game against Hersey.
The Trevians fell short of their main goal of winning a state girls water polo championship after Friday's semifinal defeat to undefeated Naperville North.
Less than 24 hours later, the Trevians readjusted their goals and managed to earn a special place in their stored program's history.
McKenna led the way with a game-high 4 goals and Emily McKenzie added 3 goals to lift the Trevians to a 10-4 win over Hersey in the state third-place game at Fenwick. The Trevians (26-5) held the Huskies scoreless in the first and second quarters and tallied 3 goals in each of the first three quarters to notch the program's first third-place trophy.
"This meant a lot because our team worked so hard all season," McKenna said. "Our main goal was to get to state, so this was huge. We had good teamwork and communication today, and started out with full energy. I'm proud we were able to come back after a loss yesterday and get a win today."
The Trevians must replace six seniors off their third-place team, but coach Matt Wendt, who has guided the program to a second-place trophy and three fourth-place finishes since 2010, noted the importance of ending a season with a "W."
"This is the second-best finish we've ever had," Wendt said. "We've gotten second before, but never finished our season with a win. Winning and third place feels pretty good. I'm just proud of the girls. They really played a great game. We're going to miss our two seniors, plus Bridget and Emily are really special."
New Trier's Carmen Connor-Crewe continued her playoff scoring surge with 2 goals, while Emma Wendt added a goal.
"Carmen was our hero in the playoffs," Matt Wendt said. "She played great these last few games."
McKenzie, a Villanova recruit, said the team overcame a strange journey this spring to earn some hardware.
"it's weird because it's kind of an anti-climactic ending, but we took advantage of everything we could in this weird year and made the best out of it," McKenzie said. "I'm really happy with third place. I'm proud we got all the way here."
The Huskies (18-3) capped off their best season in program history by adding to the thin Mid-Suburban League trophy list. The Huskies relied on senior starters Annie Lindgren, Anna Kreie and Abby Pedota to carry them to new heights, including winning the conference title.
"I know a lot of teams have come here and not placed year after year, so we're thrilled with a fourth-place finish and bringing home some hardware," Hersey coach Megan Brownley said. "I think that's more than anybody thought at the beginning of the season.
"I'm really proud of the team for sticking through it and playing well. We were never near the top until this year, and we wanted to prove to everyone we deserved to be here and we have a really good program. It worked out for us this year. It was an amazing ride."
Brownley said Lindgren, the team's leading scorer, was an essential player for the Huskies in the last four years.
"I'm not sure I'll ever have a player as good as Annie," Brownley said, while fighting back tears. "She's a leader in and out of the pool. She's a great kid. I don't know if anyone can replace her, maybe two or three girls can put together the work she does."
Lindgren, who scored all 4 goals in Saturday's loss to New Trier, said it was a bittersweet experience following the defeat, especially since she's not playing in college.
"We didn't really have a summer season for water polo and very minimal training over the winter, but everyone showed up and were ready for this season," Lindgren said. "We were really excited to get back in the pool again and we brought that energy to every game.
"It's nice to end my season on a good note. Our first time ever making it to state is nice to end on a good note for the program and everyone on the team."