The Lyons Township High School girls water polo team’s season came to an end May 26 in the IHSA state quarterfinal round at Fenwick High School in Oak Park, falling 13-6 to undefeated Naperville North.
The favorite going into the state finals, Naperville North (27-0) continually made it difficult for the LTHS offense by applying intense defensive pressure and paying close attention to Lions’ top scorer Novalee Roberto, holding her to one goal. Allison Cabrera and Emilia Mladjan led the Lions with two goals apiece.
Meanwhile, the Huskies’ Anna Taratino — who entered the contest with 144 goals for the year — further hampered LTHS’ efforts by tallying eight goals.
“We fought our hearts out but in the end they beat us,” said LTHS coach Megan Jacobs of the Lions, who finish with a 20-9 record. “[Naperville North] has a really good defense.”
Despite the loss, Jacobs felt LTHS said she was proud that the program, which advanced a squad to the state quarterfinals for the first time since 2008.
“[Getting to state] is a big accomplishment we’re proud of,” Jacobs said. “We had a great season. The girls fought so hard and played as a team.”
LTHS graduates five seniors, including the aforementioned Cabrera. But Mladjan and Roberto return next season along with 10 others, and the future appears bright.
“[The returning players] need to swim this summer and work on their skills. This way, we’ll come in ready next year,” Jacobs said.