One offensive play for the Lyons Township High School girls water polo team is designed for senior Ava Wright and junior Estelle Wright. The sisters get the opportunity to set up each other for goals, which for the Lions happens often.

“It’s fun to do, especially because we’re sisters. Our parents really like that play because when we pass, it’s an assist and, hopefully, a goal,” Ava Wright said. “We’ve run it pretty much every game, so it’s worked.”

Their last season together is emotional but certainly can conclude the way they want. The Lions are in contention for their third consecutive trip to the eight-team state meet.

LTHS (24-4) is the No. 2 seed in the IHSA Sectional, which they’ll host this week. If the Lions reach the finals at 10 a.m. on May 13, they most likely will have to beat top-seeded Mother McAuley (14-5-1), which defeated the Lions 9-7 earlier this year. 

“I feel like we’re more of a team and we play together better and we talk more so that helps our play a lot more,” Estelle Wright said. “It’s fun playing with [Ava]. It’s different than our relationship at home because we’re in the pool. It’s different but I like it.” 

Since the McAuley match, the Lions haven’t lost. On May 6, they won the West Suburban Conference tournament by beating Oak Park and River Forest 18-5 and York 15-13 in the final. 

The Wrights certainly have helped as the No. 3 and 4 scorers behind another strong sister pair, senior Emilia Mladjan (108 goals, 42 assists) and sophomore Maya Mladjan (71 goals, 46 assists). 

Ava has 40 goals and 32 assists. Estelle has 44 goals and 43 assists – a significant jump from 19 goals and 21 assists in 2022. 

“I think it’s more playing time and I’m in different spots than last year,” Estelle said. “It’ll be sad next year when she’s not here, because I’ve only played water polo with her. It’s not going to be the same.”

The family’s water polo interest began with older brother Ethan, a 2020 graduate whose senior season for the LTHS boys team was cut short by the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Ava began the girls wave as a sophomore. 

“It’s been fun because Estelle and I have grown up playing water polo together so we kind of know how to play with each other. We’re really good at reading each other,” Ava said.

The Wright tradition will continue next season, however. Freshman sister Bebe Wright has joined the program as a newcomer to the sport and even has made some varsity appearances when the Lions were short players during spring break. 

Bebe played wherever needed at the LTHS and Fenwick tournaments. She’s been promoted again for the state series.

“[My sisters] help me. They give me tips on what to do and help me learn the rules,” Bebe said. “I look at them and they’re good at playing.” 

Bebe’s strong swimming background also has helped. During the fall season in Ava’s final swim meet for the junior varsity, she, Estelle and Bebe swam together in the 200- and 400-yard freestyle relays.

“That was really fun,” Ava said. “It’s fun to win by yourself but when you get to share that win with your family, it’s also a lot better. It’s fun being able to see them grow both as teammates and just as individual players.”