By Marty Farmer
With 10 state championships won, Fenwick High School is the standard in girls water polo. While neither Riverside-Brookfield nor any other girls water polo team may ever match that accomplishment, the Bulldogs got a first-hand look at the mighty Friars in the semifinals of the York Sectional.
Fenwick defeated RBHS 17-4 en route to winning the York Sectional. Millie Sheean scored a match-high five goals and had five steals for the Friars. Kassy Rodriguez (3 goals, 3 steals) and Molly McGuire (3 goals, 3 assists) also led Fenwick.
Despite that loss, RBHS (23-8) recorded its best season in program history under third-year head coach Todd Fridrych. After a 3-3 start, the Bulldogs won 20 of 25 matches highlighted by an 11-match winning streak.
Additionally, the team won the Elk Grove Tournament and its own invite title, and placed third at the Hinsdale Central Invite.
Prior to this season, the Bulldogs never finished above .500 and went 11-18 last year.
"The biggest reason for the turnaround was the amount of water polo our girls played in the offseason," Fridrych said. "In addition, we only lost one senior on the whole team from last season to this season."
Seniors Tatum Bruno and team captain/goalie Chloe Wandel-Marrello and junior Leah Harazin provided plenty of eye-popping stats and leadership.
Wandel-Marrello had 312 saves and 52 assists in the cage, while Bruno scored 89 goals with 60 assists and 152 steals. Harazin had 65 goals, 21 assists and 31 steals.
"Our three best players this season statistically were Tatum Bruno, Leah Harazin and Chloe Wandel-Marrello," Fridrych said. "Tatum broke the single-season record for goals and has the most steals in school history. Chloe Wandel-Marrello was fabulous. Leah had the second most goals on the team."
Seniors Alyssa Schwarz (28 goals, 67 steals), Michaela Espisito (37 goals, 31 steals), and junior Michelle Jacobs (38 assists, 48 steals) also played key roles in the Bulldogs' success.
Several other juniors, including Abby Regan, Shea Connelly, Veronica Cariveau and Sarah Pilewski showed tremendous improvement over the course of the season.
"They will be the players the team leans on next season," Fridrych said. "They were equivalent in their statistics and prowess. We have a great core group of girls returning next season. The nucleus has an abundance of playing time and should be a very formidable team."