LINCOLNSHIRE — Nearly eight hours before his team took the Stevenson pool to play Loyola for a state championship, Fenwick boys water polo coach Kyle Perry talked about winning a state title next season.
Win or lose against the Ramblers later that night, Perry said, the next day would begin the singular focus of winning the state title in 2015. The state championship is always the expectation at Fenwick and the Friars spend literally all year striving toward that achievement.
“Day one, we’re talking — and it’s not quiet — it’s like, ‘This is what the goal is,’ ” said Perry, after Fenwick beat Naperville North in the state semifinals on Saturday. “We’re not being arrogant. We’re not bragging. We’re not making ridiculous claims. … On Sunday they’re already thinking about next year and what next year’s going to look like.”
Fenwick didn’t win its 11th state championship on Saturday. The Friars rallied from a three-goal deficit in the fourth quarter to send the title game into overtime, but Loyola won 11-10 by scoring with eight seconds remaining in the second overtime period.
It was a disappointing setback for the Friars, who had never before lost in 32 state quarterfinal, semifinal or final matches. Their sadness was evident as they received their second-place medals and reluctantly posed with the second-place trophy for the event’s photographer.
‘We have never lost a game at state,” said junior Ryan Masi, after Fenwick beat St. Ignatius in the quarterfinal on May 22. “We don’t want to be the year to break that.”
Although this season ended in disappointment, Fenwick will likely begin next year as the favorites to win the 2015 state championship.
The Friars have an immensely talented junior class slated to return. Starters Danny Farmer, Masi, Bailey Wendt, Andrew Bertschy and goalie Mike Hill all are on track to be seniors next season.
“This stings,” Perry said, after losing to Loyola. “It sucks for us. But … the goal is to win state next year.”