By Mike Miazga



The York girls water-polo team is sitting in the driver’s seat when it comes to returning talent.

The Dukes return plenty on the offensive side of the pool from a 2017 team that went 23-7 and took second in the West Suburban Conference with a 5-1 record. The Dukes lost in the conference title game to Lyons Township.

“We are pretty lucky to have four of seven starters returning,” said York coach Mark Giuliani.

Back for the Dukes are senior Sydney Hutchinson (holding defense, point), sophomore Moleigh Waldherr (center, hole set), senior Marissa Logan (driver) and senior Maddie Fitzpatrick (driver).

Hutchinson racked up 112 goals as a junior last year, while Waldherr found the back of the net 84 times. Logan scored 52 goals, while Fitzpatrick had 26 goals.

Key newcomers include junior Kate Caforio (driver) and junior goalie Emma Radcliff.

“We think Kate is going to have a good season,” said Giuliani. “She’s going to fit in with Moleigh and Sydney who are pretty established in the center of the pool. Emma will play a huge part as well as our new starting goalie.”

Just from the numbers, it’s evident York has goal-scoring ability. “Our offense is going to be huge for us,” said Giuliani. “We have pretty good speed and awareness. With a lot of returnees we will have a good ability to run a similar offense. The turnaround for that understanding of offensive philosophy has been fast.”

A big key will be the team’s defensive play. “Our defense is going to have to help out Emma,” said Giuliani. “She’s new as our varsity goalie and will take some time to adjust to the varsity pace of play. Defense is going to be key. We’re stressing the importance of putting pressure on the opponent to make sure Emma’s job is as easy as possible.”

Giuliani said the team has its sights set on even bigger accomplishments this season. “There always are expectations,” he said. “Last year we took second on the conference and then went into the sectional and lost in the sectional championship 10-3 to Fenwick. Expectations are there, absolutely. We will see Fenwick during the regular season this year and we’ll get an idea of what they are like. Our goal always is to win the sectional and make it to state. That’s definitely a possibility this season.”

Last year, York showed its strength against quality competition. The Dukes went 3-0 against Oak Park-River Forest, the first time the Dukes had earned a win against the Huskies during Giuliani’s tenure as head coach. York defeated them in the conference regular-season, the conference tournament and in the sectional semifinals.

“It was nice to see us do that against a team that had gotten the better of us in previous years and against a team we definitely consider a rival,” he said. “Oak Park and Lyons and us always are vying for that top spot in the conference.”

York will again play a competitive schedule in 2018. “My philosophy always has been the more good teams you play, the better,” he said. “You’d rather play good teams. We’re going to see some good teams this season in the hopes it gets us ready for the end of the season.”

Giuliani noted he’s excited about York’s frosh-soph team as well. “We have some strong players at the frosh-soph level,” he said. “I’m excited about the future there and what this group will bring to the varsity level in a couple of years.”

Hutchinson and Waldherr are returning all-sectional players from a year ago.


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