Girls Water Polo: Sectional crown to Lincoln-Way Central
By Steve Millar For Sun-Times Media May 11, 2013 5:24PM
Lincoln-Way North goalie Kelly Pender makes a block against Lincoln-Way Central during the girls water polo sectional championship game at Lincoln-Way North in Frankfort Square Saturday, May 11, 2013. | Brett Roseman~Sun-Times Media
Updated: June 13, 2013 7:24PM
Lincoln-Way Central has worked hard the last two years to be more than just the Danijela Jackovich Show.
Jackovich, the Knights’ All-State star, was dominant when she needed to be Saturday. And junior Kristi Howe stepped up to be Jackovich’s co-star.
Howe scored four times and delivered two second-half daggers as Central held off the host Phoenix 9-7 in the Lincoln-Way North Sectional championship.
“We knew it was going to be tough and we knew they’d double-team Danijela,” Howe said. “We just had to find the open person. A lot of times that was me and I just shot.”
Jackovich also scored four goals and Beth Senese added one as the Knights (28-5) clinched their second straight — and second ever — trip to state.
They will meet Loyola (23-10) in a quarterfinal at 4:30 p.m. Thursday at Stevenson.
Niki Beringer led North (25-5) with three goals.
A back-and-forth first half ended with Central up 6-5 before Howe scored from the point midway through the third. Jackovich came up with a steal and scored on a breakaway with 40 seconds left in the quarter to give the Knights an 8-5 lead and momentum.
“It was kind of a misplay by them and the ball was up for grabs,” Jackovich said. “I just took it and went.”
North, which got two goals from Cheyenne DeGraff and nine saves from Kelly Pender, had chances in the fourth quarter, but Caroline Foglton made a big save on a breakaway by Carlie Petraitis and Sam Klosak misfired on a penalty shot.
“We missed a couple chances and that’s what the game comes down to,” North coach Kendra Will said. “We played incredible defense and we played with passion and we didn’t go down without a fight. I’m very, very proud of our girls.”
Howe, left open again at the point, delivered the dagger, making it 9-6 with 3:27 to go.
“Kristi has the hardest shot on our team and we tell her she just needs to step up and take them,” Central coach Karen Desruisseaux said. “They’re not always accurate but they were (Saturday) when they counted.”
The Knights now will set their sights on the program’s first state trophy.
“We definitely want to win the first one and get to the semifinals and see what happens,” Jackovich said. “It feels awesome to be going back.”