Girls Water Polo: Mother McAuley comes up short at state
By Steve Millar For Sun-Times Media May 24, 2014 7:06PM
Mother McAuley's Clare Bryar (6) shoots as a Stevenson defender moves in. The Patriots of Stevenson High School played the Mighty Macs of Mother McAuley High School in the IHSA girls state water polo third place game held at Stevenson High School on May 24, 2014. | Geoff Scheerer/Sun-Times Media
Updated: June 26, 2014 6:47AM
A day that began quite promisingly for Mother McAuley ended with disappointment Saturday.
The Mighty Macs raced to a 4-1 lead in the state semifinal against Fenwick and led 6-5 at halftime but could not hold on in a 12-8 loss. With limited time to recover, they struggled mightily in the third-place game, falling 9-5 to host Stevenson.
“It’s hard to come back from a loss,” McAuley coach Vanessa Carroll. “It seemed like we’d have more time between games, but it went so fast. The girls came back and played hard, though.”
The tears were rolling afterward for a small but extremely accomplished four-player senior class. Three of its members — Clare Bryar, Fran Williamson and MaryJune O’Connell — were on varsity all four years, getting to state every time and bringing home three state trophies, including fourth place in 2011 and third place last season. Hannah Murphy was McAuley’s fourth senior.
“I’m proud of all we’ve accomplished these last four years,” Williamson said. “This year, especially, I think people didn’t expect us to come back and do as well as we did. We had a lot of young girls, and I’m proud of the year we had. I just hope we’ve passed on things that the younger girls can carry on.”
Bryar led McAuley (25-10) with three goals in the third-place game. Williamson and Maggie Hennigan added one each and Geena Peyton made 13 saves.
Over three games at state, Bryar (14) and Williamson (9) combined for 23 of McAuley’s 26 goals.
“They’ve been leaders for many years,” Carroll said. “They’ve been really special players, and they’re going to be hard to replace.”
Allison Travetto, who finished with six goals to lead Stevenson (31-5), scored the first three of the game to put the Mighty Macs in an early hole they never could get out of.
Down 4-2 after one, McAuley scored just once over the next two quarters as the Patriots put it out of reach.
The semifinal played out in an altogether different fashion. Williamson’s goal from mid-pool with three seconds left in the first quarter, followed by Bryar’s score in the opening minute of the second, gave McAuley a 4-1 lead.
Fenwick, though, fought back to within 6-5 by halftime and outscored the Mighty Macs 5-0 in the third to take control.
Bryar scored four goals, Williamson three and Hennigan one. Colleen Barron paced the Friars with five goals.
“It was tough, but we never stopped playing in either game and we never gave up,” Bryar said. “It’s been a fun ride these last four years, getting (to state) every year. We’ve had some tough losses and some big wins.”