Girls Water Polo: Lincoln-Way Central jacked for new season
By Steve Millar For Sun-Times Media March 4, 2013 9:16PM
(From left to right) Caroline Foglton, Danijela Jackovich and Meghan McLean are returning seniors for the girls water polo team at Lincoln-Way Central High School as seen Wednesday, Feb. 27, 2013, at 1801 E. Lincoln Highway in New Lenox. | Matthew Grotto~Sun-Times Media
Girls Water Polo 2013
AREA TEAMS TO WATCH
Lincoln-Way East: The Griffins were 10-15 in 2012, but had some big wins under first-year coach Ryan Lodes. They look to continue to climb the SouthWest Suburban Blue standings with Haley McCabe leading the offense. East must replace standout goalie Tricia Paul.
Lincoln-Way West: Keith Huizenga, formerly the Warriors’ boys coach, takes over the girls squad and looks to improve on a 13-14 season in 2012. Allison Rocha will be tough to replace, but Emily Gallagher and Michelle Fairbairn should help the offense recover.
Lockport: The Porters are a team on the rise, winning 11 games last season and advancing to the sectional semifinal round for the first time. Megan Cavanaugh and Christine Bafia should lead the offense as Lockport looks to continue to improve.
TOP INDIVIDUALS (in alphabetical order):
Christine Bafia, Sr. Driver, Lockport: Bafia scored four times in the Porters’ historic playoff win over Andrew last May.
Caroline Foglton, Sr. Goalie, Lincoln-Way Central: Foglton’s improvement in goal was one of the keys to the Knights’ run to state last season.
Emily Gallagher, Sr. Utility, Lincoln-Way West: Gallagher scored 40 goals and had 27 steals last season.
Danijela Jackovich, Sr. Hole Set, Lincoln-Way Central: The Stanford-bound Jackovich looks to conclude a brilliant high school career with her best year yet.
Haley McCabe, Jr. Driver, Lincoln-Way East: McCabe should emerge as a vital scoring threat for the Griffins after gaining varsity experience last season.
Updated: April 6, 2013 6:19AM
Danijela Jackovich, the Stanford-bound member of the U.S. Olympic water polo development program, is back.
That has to be a scary thought for all opponents of Lincoln-Way Central.
Meanwhile, the thinking in New Lenox has to be that, for the Knights to improve on last season — when they qualified for state for the first time before falling to Stevenson in the quarterfinals — they’ll have to get stronger around their star.
“It’s big because the name of other teams’ defense is ‘What do we do about Danijela?’ ” Lincoln-Way Central coach Karen Desruisseaux said. “Everyone else has to step up so we can score more goals. I don’t want them to be afraid to shoot. It doesn’t always have to be Danijela. It can be anybody. If you see the shot, take it.”
Jackovich scored 154 goals and had 78 assists last year, factoring in on over two-thirds of the Knights’ scores.
With the attention she draws, the opportunities should be there for players such as senior Meghan McLean and juniors Liz Klock, Beth Senese and Michelle Dundek.
The Knights’ role players are experienced — six of seven starters return from last year — and they’re ready to contribute more.
“I’ve been a better defensive player than offensive,” McLean said. “I’m really trying to work on my offense and help out more on that side.”
Desruisseaux also expects freshmen Kenzie Applequist and Cailey Davern to make an immediate impact. Kristi Howe, a junior who Desruisseaux said “dominated on JV” last year, should also contribute.
“Only graduating one starter from state is awesome,” Desruisseaux said. “Our experience is definitely helping so far and our older players are helping out our younger players.”
Desruisseaux’s squad is extra motivated this season to follow up on last year’s success.
“We want to get back to state and make some noise this time,” Desruisseaux said. “We’ve been there, we got a taste of it and we want more. It was good experience and I think once you go, it’s like infectious, you’ve got to go back.”
With that in mind, the Knights practiced twice a day all last week leading up to Monday’s season opener against Mother McAuley.
“These have definitely been the most intense practices we’ve had,” Jackovich said. “We want to improve on what we did last year, get better as a team and hopefully get a trophy this time.”
Jackovich said the key to the Knights’ success this season will be defense. It’s a defense that starts with returning All-Area goalie Caroline Foglton, who allowed under 6 goals a game last year.
“Caroline is a great goalie,” McLean said. “She’s improved so much since freshman year. She’s amazing.”
Foglton, Jackovich and McLean anchor a senior class that’s already made program history and is intent on making more before moving on.
“Getting to state was one of the best experiences I’ve ever had in my entire life,” Foglton said. “It makes you feel so good that you can accomplish something like that and do it as a team. I think there’s going to be an amazing push for all of us to get back there and get a trophy this time.”