Until a young team faces adversity, nobody knows how it will respond.
Fenwick’s boys water polo team dropped an 11-10 heartbreaker to Naperville North in the finals of its own tournament Saturday, the Friars’ first setback in its state title defense.
Monday, the Friars bounced back with a strong 12-7 win at Brother Rice in MCAC play.
Fenwick jumped out to a 5-0 lead and never looked back, improving to 8-1 overall and 4-0 in league play.
“This weekend, we lifted, we went hard; we’re just trying to get back into it after that big loss,” Fenwick junior Bailey Wendt said. “We have to keep our composure through the season. We’ve got to come back after a loss like that and improve from it. We can’t keep our heads down.”
Wendt had a big role in the Friars’ fast start. Fenwick started by shooting in the deep end of Brother Rice’s pool, and took full advantage. All three of Wendt’s goals in the match came in building the 5-0 lead.
“We didn’t want to wait, especially shooting deep first,” Fenwick coach Kyle Perry said. “We’re not going to score a lot of goals on the shallow end. We couldn’t dig ourselves a hole. Rice has a nice team. This is probably the fastest they’ve ever been. They gave Naperville North a great game on Friday night. We said we wanted to set the tone right away, come out quick.”
Rice (2-6, 1-3) cut the lead to 8-4 at one point, but the Crusaders didn’t provide a serious threat after Fenwick’s hot start.
“Our guys made some bad passes today,” Rice coach Tony Cichowicz said. “I don’t think their heads were in it with it being spring break and all. We didn’t put as many in the net as we wanted to. It’s a tough loss. Fenwick played really well. They lost to Naperville North, so they were itching to go.”
Junior Danny Farmer led Fenwick with four goals on the night. Andrew Bertschy added a pair of goals. Luke Healy and Kevin Mulcrone each scored a pair of goals for Brother Rice.
Though there is still a long way to go in the MCAC race as the Friars try to regain the conference crown they lost to Loyola last year, 4-0 is where they wanted to be.
“The first goal every year is that we want to win the MCAC,” Perry said. “The conference often sets the tone for how you’re doing going into state. The season’s not over, but it’s a great start.”