Girls Water Polo: Trevians will use fourth place as a stepping stone
New Trier's Erika Nothnagel keeps her hands up against Lincoln-Way Central. | Ruthie Hauge~Sun-Times Media
Updated: July 2, 2012 8:31AM
New Trier girls water polo coach Matt Wendt has a simple philosophy to judge his team’s success from year to year, and it has nothing to do with their won-loss record.
So after the Trevians picked up their second fourth-place state trophy since water polo became an IHSA sport in 2002, his praise on was simple despite losing the last two games of the season.
“They really did work their hardest,” Wendt said. “That’s my benchmark for success. I know those are corny, cheesy sayings, but that’s how I define success. I know they tried their hardest.”
Despite settling for fourth place, it was another stepping stone for Wendt and the Trevians. They had finished fourth in 2004 and reached the quarterfinals under Wendt in 2010. The 27 wins were the most in Wendt’s three years as head coach of New Trier.
“It’s a real privilege to be playing on Saturday at state,” Wendt said. “We’re honored to be here and we’re not going to take it for granted. We’re going to try to build on this and really make an impact in years to come.”
To reach the semifinals Saturday, the Trevians (27-7-1) had to put away a tough Lincoln-Way Central team in the quarterfinals, 9-6. A 4-0 run in the fourth quarter, highlighted by two rebound goals from junior Lindsey Siegel, helped the Trevians shake Central and superstar junior Danijela Jackovich to advance.
“We had to hit our shots,” Wendt said. “We started putting our shots away (in the fourth) and we got a couple of lucky rebound goals, to be honest. We just really weren’t putting away our shots in the first half.”
New Trier ran into eventual state champion Fenwick in the semifinals Saturday morning, losing 14-6. Isabelle Baneaux had a huge game offensively for the Trevians, scoring five of their goals in the loss.
That put New Trier into the third-place match against St. Ignatius. The Trevians played well offensively, but the Wolfpack just had too much firepower in a 12-8 loss to end the season. Baneaux and Alexana Astor each scored three times in the loss.
“Our defense let us down, which is really unusual,” Wendt said. “We’re usually very strong on the defensive end. They have some great, talented players. They just beat us one-on-one. That was the difference.