Andy McWhirter, Naperville North girls water polo coach, details the obstacles his state winning team had to overcome in 2021.
Recap of the State Championship game:
Huskies are already up 1-0 and superstar senior Anna Tarantino makes it 2-0 after fighting off defenders. Even she can hardly believe it.
Patriots turn to respond. Belle Cloeter gets the ball and takes a gamble on the long goal that pays off and gets that goose egg off the board. It’s now a 2-1 Huskie lead.
Can the Patriots tie things up? North senior goalie Grace Raquel says not so fast. She notices the loose ball and swims it out to keep anyone from scoring.
Huskies are back on the attack as Tarantino passes the ball to Claire Jansen. One throw is enough for the Huskie goal. 5-1 North looking sharp.
Here comes Tarantino again who is in a one on one battle but she wins it with little problem. Yes she scores and no we are not surprised. Dawgs up 7-1.
2nd quarter and here is Mary Crossett who loses the ball at first but regains possession. She makes a move and throws a fireball to the back of the net. North is already running away up 9-1.
Don’t count out the Patriots yet. Maria Mossakowski finds the lose ball and takes advantage of the turnover. Back to back goals cut the deficit to six.
10-3 Huskies and here come the Patriots again. Faith Ma throws a nice arching shot that just goes over the goalie and makes the score 10-4 North as we head into halftime.
3rd quarter and the Dawgs are back on the hunt. Tarantino throws to Kelsey Wessel who just taps it in Happy Gilmore style and the freshman extends the Huskie lead to 11-4.
Later in the quarter, good luck trying to guard Tarantino. Her goal shows you why, over 150 of them on the season. 12-4 Huskies heading into the fourth.
We are in the final stanza and the Patriots still have life. Yachi Patel gets the pass and uses all her might to get that goal to go in. 12-5 Huskies.
Next time around for the Pats it’s Mossakowski again and again she scores with a friendly bounce. Patriots clinging to a final bit of hope.
However Naperville North has been the dominant team all season long. Sarah Crossett gets the pass from her sister and throws in the goal with authority. That goal is your dagger and you know what that means. For the first time in school history, Naperville North captures the girls water polo IHSA state title after a 15-6 victory over Stevenson. At 29-0 there is no doubt who the best in the state is this year. The 4th trophy and first title for Hall of Fame head coach Andy McWhirter.
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