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Girls water polo scores MSL East title

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Girls water polo scores MSL East title

Caroline Stiefbold

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The undefeated girls water polo team (20-0) will face off against Conant in the MSL Championship on May 3 at Prospect High School.

“It feels amazing to win the East. It’s something that hasn’t even done for Hersey girls water polo, and the chance to play in the MSL Championship is great,” junior Claire Lutz said.

The girls earned their spot in the championship after clinching the MSL East title with their second win over Elk Grove on April 16. They defeated the Grenadiers 10-4. Senior Madison Burkhalter and freshman Annie Lindgren each scored four goals. Seniors Katie Lindgren and Jessica Tichansky also had a goal each for the Huskies. Lutz contributed to the Huskie defense with five saves in the game.

“It feels really good to clinch the East, especially since we still had two [East division] games left. At just about at every practice, we have talked about taking each game one at a time to fulfill out goal of winning the East, and it finally happened,” Lippstreuer said.

The Huskies also beat Elk Grove in their first meeting and have two wins a piece over Rolling Meadows, Buffalo Grove, and Wheeling. They topped Prospect 12-5 in their first matchup, and will take on the Knights again on April 23.

“Beating Prospect was amazing. In years past, they’ve been the team to beat especially last year. I feel like we’ve dethroned them,” Lippstreuer said.

The Huskies have also taken two tournament championship titles. They won the Glenbrook South tournament on March 17 and won their own tournament on April 7 by beating Hoffman Estates (16-2), Morton (11-3), Stagg (18-5), and St. Charles North (9-5)

“It was nerve racking in our last game because in the fourth quarter we were tied with Saint Charles North, but being able to win 9-5 felt great,” Lutz said.

The Lindgren sisters were named to the all-tournament team in the Huskies third straight tournament championship.

“To have won this [Hersey] tournament now three years in a row is such a huge accomplishment and being able to beat four really good teams all in the same day is a great accomplishment,” Burkhalter said.

With their perfect record still in tact, the girls are trying to focus on their performance at every game, and less about the idea that they have yet to lose.

“I don’t think about it [being undefeated]. I just have fun playing each game,” A. Lindgren said.

The Huskies are working hard offensively to continue their success.

“We have been focusing a lot on moving on offense and finding the open person to pass to, while also finding the right places to put the ball in the back of the net,” Burkhalter said.

Even though they score double (even sometimes triple), the Huskies’ defense is one of their main strengths, contributing to their ability to score as well.

“Our team plays amazing defense and with that we are able to limit our opponents’ shots on our goal and have many more steals which we end up using to our advantage by scoring,” Burkhalter said.

They are continuing to practice defense, especially for goalies.

“I’ve been focusing on improving my skills as a goalie (getting out of the water, blocking lobs, etc.). This is my first year ever as a goalie, so there’s a lot I can work on,” Lutz said.

They are hoping that the specific details they concentrate on at practice will continue to pay off.

“We’ve mostly been focusing on the small things like man-ups and shooting but we’ve also been focusing on endurance by doing 10 sprints everyday at the end of practice,” Lippstreuer

The girls are also very happy with the team chemistry and camaraderie amongst the players and feel it helps when they are in important game situations.

“Everyone gets along really well. We had a player make her first goal last week, and everyone was up and clapping. We work so well together, and we do a good job of communicating,” Lutz said.

As the team gets closer to the post season, they are happy with what they have accomplished so far and are eager to continue their success.

“I am most looking forward to hopefully achieving our goal of making it to state. I feel that this is finally the year when it is possible and to have that opportunity to get to the state tournament would be the best wrap up to my final water polo season with such a great team and also a great way to the end the school year that I could ever ask for,” Burkhalter said.

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Girls water polo scores MSL East title