Riverside-Brookfield High School senior girls water polo players Alli Brand and Gillian Dowling had a strong offensive connection in 2021.
“I’m usually in the dump [on the outside]. I like to just pass it in and get someone to shoot,” Brand said. “[Dowling is] our main shooter because she has the strongest arm. The goal is to try and get it to her.”
Brand and Dowling are the lone returning starters from a strong 2021 lineup that finished 12-5 and reached the Lyons Township Sectional semifinals before losing to Mother McAuley 15-13, equaling the Bulldogs’ best postseason run since 2018.
The Bulldogs opened this season last week with a 19-10 home loss to Lincoln Park.
Brand and Dowling started as well as seniors CeCe Rosa and Mary Izzo, juniors Claire Cervi and Katelyn Stowe and sophomore goalie Priscilla Gil. Other varsity members are juniors Anna Breit, Gemma Sambugaro and Riley Daun and senior Breanna Kissick.
“I think we’ve got some pretty strong swimmers,” Dowling said. “We also have some pretty good shooters so I think it’ll be a pretty strong season.”
Dowling had three goals, Brand, Rosa and Stowe two apiece and Breit one. Dowling added two assists and Brand, Rosa, Izzo, Cervi and Gil one apiece.
Brand and Dowling were among the Bulldogs’ top 2021 offensive players. Rosa and Izzo often were the first two off the bench. The key will be how quickly the Bulldogs develop as a unit with the varsity newcomers.
“One [strength] is we’re very close,” Izzo said. “We’re a great team in itself, always want to get better and work off each other. We’re very determined. We want to get good and it’ll be a good season.”
RBHS open season 4th at tourney
The Riverside-Brookfield High School boys water polo team finished fourth at its season-opening Bradley-Bourbonnais Tournament on March 12.
The Bulldogs (1-2) lost the third-place game to Lincoln-Way Central 16-1 after beating fifth-place Shepard 11-4 and losing to second-place Bradley-Bourbonnais 15-9 in pool play.
Seniors Luke Harder and Liam Mathews begin their fourth varsity seasons for the Bulldogs, who lost to Maine South 20-9 in last season’s York Sectional quarterfinals and finished 9-11.
Senior goalie Alec Wilkowski and junior Murphy Regan are on their third varsity rosters.
Also back are senior James Dalton and sophomores Hayden Marrs, Lucas Heidrich and Alex Jacobs. Senior Benediktas Beiliauskas and junior Bradley Ruska are varsity newcomers.