Girls Water Polo: Mother McAuley fends off Sandburg
By Steve Millar For Sun-Times Media April 10, 2014 7:54PM
Updated: April 10, 2014 10:46PM
When Mother McAuley’s defense is on, opponents sometimes are lucky to score five goals in a game. So when Sandburg came out Thursday and put up five goals on the Mighty Macs in the first quarter, it was a bit of a stunner.
“We just had to adjust,” McAuley coach Vanessa Carroll said. “They were shooting from everywhere, taking long shots. Our goalie (Geena Peyton) is used to facing shots from up close, not the lob shots. We pressed up on defense and took those shots away.”
The adjustments paid off as the Mighty Macs held the Eagles to four goals the rest of the way. McAuley’s offense, meanwhile, was clicking throughout in a key 14-9 win in Orland Park.
Fran Williamson scored five goals and Clare Bryar four to lead McAuley (13-4).
Sarah Dolitsky and Danielle Lencioni had three goals each for Sandburg (10-3), which lost for the first time since March 15.
The two teams are in the same sectional — at a to-be-decided site — and the Mighty Macs now have the inside track at the top seed.
“This definitely will make our lives easier come sectional time,” Bryar said. “We’ve been trying a lot of new things offensively and I think we have it down pat. We’re doing a really good job on offense.”
Sandburg, firing from outside at will, jumped to a 4-2 lead less than four minutes in, with Lencioni scoring all three of her goals during the surge.
It was 5-5 after one and McAuley led 8-7 at halftime.
The second half belonged to the visitors, Williamson in particular. Her goal with 3:38 in the third made it 10-8. She scored again off a steal and pass from Mary June O’Connell (1 goal) to increase the lead to three in the opening minute of the fourth and she added two more fourth-quarter scores to seal the win.
“We knew coming in they were a tough team,” Williamson said. “This was a big win for us for sectionals. We just had to come out and play our game.”
Julia Olivares and Maggie Hennigan each scored twice for McAuley and Peyton made nine saves.
Caitlin Krull, Clare Lawlor and Caitlyn Olson had a goal apiece for the Eagles.
“We came out and wanted to shoot as much as we could,” Sandburg coach Sofia Pappanastos said. “We put a lot of pressure on them early, and I think we got frustrated later in the game. The good thing is now we’ll be hungrier if we play them again at sectionals.”