Women’s Water Polo Takes on Lane in Bronze Medal Match
by Ethan Lim
Northside’s women’s water polo team took on Lane Tech in the city third place game at the University of Illinois at Chicago’s (UIC) Natatorium on May 4, 2018. Lane has always been a formidable adversary for Northside in sports, but the rivalry is even more heated in women’s water polo. Typically, Lane will win city and Northside will finish third or fourth. Games against the Indians are always very close and intense. The game would be difficult, but the Mustangs were up to the challenge.
Led by veteran players Joanne Phan, Adv. 806, Stefania Betti, Adv. 902, and Nina Robinson, Adv. 911, the Mustangs had a good chance to win the bronze medal game. However, the entire team would have to play well if the Mustangs were to stand a chance against the defending city champions, especially with well known player Mikayla Koconis-O’Malley taking the helm for the Indians. Although the teams traded shots, it was strong defense and a low score that characterized this match. By halftime, Lane led with a one goal advantage and it was the Indian’s stamina that gave them the edge in the second half. Lane and Northside continued to trade goals, with Betti and Phan stepping up for the Mustangs. However, Northside’s defense soon began to falter. It was not a huge drop in performance, but it was all Lane needed to take a two goal lead as time expired and win 8-6.
Northside gave everything they had but could not close the gap between themselves and Lane. Despite the loss, the girls were still very proud of their efforts, as they should be. The Indians would later go on to beat Whitney in the sectional finals and advance to the state tournament. After the game, Phan, senior captain of the team, shared her thoughts on the game. She said, “That was the closest game we’ve ever had against Lane and I’m very proud of our efforts. We had an opportunity to beat them and even though we fell short, we never gave up. This was one of our best city performances in the past few years. Hopefully the next generation will be able to keep up the success.” As long as the Mustangs continue to work hard, the team will have another shot at dethroning Lane next season.