At the start of the season, they were young and expected to take a year or two off from celebrating state title victories, but the Fenwick boys water polo team proved everyone wrong on Saturday evening at Stevenson High School in Lincolnshire. The Friars, who have just five seniors on the team, downed Naperville Central 10-8 to secure the program’s seventh-straight IHSA State Championship.

This win, like many others this season – including three against cross-town rival Oak Park – didn’t come easy for the Friars (33-2). With the score tied early at 1-1, Fenwick went on a 3-0 run to close out the first half up 4-1. But Naperville Central roared back, scoring three unanswered goals to tie it.

John Osborne’s two goals broke the 4-4 tie and a 6-6 stalemate later in the third for Fenwick. He finished with four goals in the game. Ted Herbstritt scored at the buzzer to give the Friars an 8-6 lead going into the fourth. Fenwick’s Matt Farmer (4 goals), who as a freshman experienced his first state tournament, scored twice in the final period to close the door on the Redhawks (30-5).

Perhaps the biggest play of the game came in the first period when Fenwick goalkeeper Dan Francisco blocked a Ryan Stanley penalty shot from five meters out. Francisco thwarted a total of five shots in the period to keep the Redhawks at bay and 20 in the game.

Senior Will Rigali finished with two goals in Fenwick’s 41st consecutive state tournament victory. The Friars haven’t lost a game since falling to Brother Rice on March 22, two days after losing to cross-town rival Oak Park. Fenwick edged the Crusaders 10-8 in the quarterfinals. Rigali led Fenwick in that effort with four goals, while Farmer added three.

“I am very proud of this team, who most people thought were just another water polo team,” said Dave Perry, who has now coached Fenwick to 15 state titles in all and eight since the sport was sanctioned by the IHSA. They underestimated that ‘Fenwick tradition’ and the willingness of the boys to work so hard to continue it.”

Fenwick had no problem dispatching St. Ignatius in the semifinals. Farmer scored a season-high six goals, while Rigali added four in the Friars’ 16-8 thrashing.

Fenwick girls water

The Fenwick girls team, which has also seen its share of state title victories over the years – five since 2004 – didn’t have quite the same outcome at the state tournament as their male counterparts. The Friars fell 9-6 to Homewood Flossmoor in the quarterfinals on Thursday, yet closing out still a stellar season with a record of 26-7.

Emma McKernin scored two goals for the Friars in the loss, while Stephanie Ovalle, Natalie Dunlap, Brittney Kulik and Annie Collins each scored one apiece.

The Friars lose six seniors to graduation, including goalkeeper Mary Bridget Barrett.