Although boasting a roster of just a dozen swimmers, Stagg is making waves on both an individual and team level in the early weeks of the season while setting its sights on realizing postseason goals.
For sure, the Lady Chargers are making a believer out of coach Frank Muchna, who watched his squad improve to 5-0 in dual meets this fall with a 105-80 SouthWest Suburban Conference Blue victory over Homewood-Flossmoor last Thursday. Sophomore Natalie Graves, who competed on Stagg’s varsity squad last season, won the 200-yard freestyle in 2 minutes, 2.65 seconds, and also helped the Lady Chargers prevail in the 200-free relay and 400-free relays in respective times of 1:47.57 and 3:55.52.
“We’re a relatively small team, but they’re a very talented bunch,” Muchna said. “The whole varsity group is very versatile and able to swim anywhere. They’re hard workers and they’re doing a very good job so far this season.
In addition to Graves, Stagg boasts a potent trio of seniors: Adrienne DiFoggio (freestyle, IM and distances), Samyah Isa (freestyle, IM, and sprints) and returning state qualifier Sophia Shalabi (breaststroke).
“I’m personally hoping to get a couple of relays downstate this year, as well as two, three or four individuals,” Muchna said. “It’s looking pretty good so far. It’s really been a team effort. All of them have chipped in.”
The contributors include freshman Megan Vallance (freestyle and sprints), who almost broke the school record in the 50-free at last weekend’s frosh-soph invitational at Andrew.
The Lady Chargers’ 5-0 record also includes victories over Lincoln-Way West, Tinley Park, Andrew and Hinsdale South. Upcoming meets against Sandburg, Lincoln-Way East and Lockport will be big tests, according to Muchna, but the strides he is seeing his girls make give him a sense of confidence.
“Some of these girls are approaching where they were at last year at sectionals,” he said. “We’re looking for good things from this team.”
Chicago Christian went 3-0 last week by defeating Tinley Park (3-2 on Tuesday), Shepard (4-1 on Wednesday) and Stagg (3-2 on Saturday).
Raquel Hamstra and Grace Furlong were two pivotal individuals for the Lady Knights. They teamed up for a win at No. 1 doubles versus both the Lady Titans and Lady Chargers, and Furlong also posted a first-singles triumph in the match against the Lady Astros.
Haley Reiher was a victor at No. 2 singles for Christian opposite Shepard.
Sandburg captured a pair of matches last week and then finished third at Saturday’s Lincoln-Way North Invitational.
The Lady Eagles defeated Stagg 5-2 in a SouthWest Suburban Conference Blue encounter on Tuesday and then blanked Marist 8-0 on Wednesday behind a big first-singles win from Molly Traverso. Two doubles teams led the way for Sandburg on Saturday, as the No. 1 duo of Priya Sharma-Allia Abunaim and No. 2 tandem of Nisha Riley-Jackie Makdah both took third.
In addition to its losses against Sandburg and Chicago Christian, Stagg came up dry in one other match last week as Lockport (4-3) got the better of the Lady Chargers.
A bright spot for Stagg was No. 1 singles player Nicole Pamphilis, who scored wins against both the Lady Eagles and Lady Porters. Jillian Atkenson recorded a victory at second-singles for the Lady Chargers in their Saturday clash with the Lady Knights.
Besides its defeat against Chicago Christian, Shepard also suffered a 4-1 setback to Oak Lawn last week. The Lady Astros salvaged their week, however, with a 3-2 triumph over Argo in a South Suburban Conference Red match.
Blaine Wright claimed medalist honors twice, but Chicago Christian was only able to go 1-1 in a pair of outings at Silver Lake last week.
Wright’s 40 ranked as the low score versus Timothy Christian last Monday, but the Trojans earned the match win by two strokes, 172-174. Also contributing to the Knights’ cause were Sean Ozinga (44), Jay Timmer (44), Patrick McCarthy (46) and Bobby Schaaf (46). Only one of the 46s factored into Chicago Christian’s total.
Wright’s round of 35 propelled the Knights past Reavis, 155-207, on Wednesday.
Behind Chris Dykstra’s medalist round of 43, Shepard picked up a 194-230 South Suburban Conference crossover victory over Hillcrest last Wednesday. The Astros also defeated Reavis 167-194 in an SSC Red clash on Thursday behind the co-medalist efforts of Colin Cody and Shane Wright, each of whom fired a 40 over nine holes.
Stagg dropped a 157-171 decision to Oak Forest at Palos Hills Golf Club last Monday.
Stagg split two SWSC Blue matches last week, as a 209-251 vanquishing of Bolingbrook on Monday was followed up by a 187-196 setback against Homewood-Flossmoor on Wednesday.
Natalie Collina was the Monday medalist after carding a 49 at Silver Lake, and she and teammate Hannah Mussallem shared the Lady Chargers’ low score of 45 versus the Lady Vikings.
Frankie Saban took medalist honors last Monday at Silver Lake, and her performance helped Sandburg beat Joliet Township co-op 163-198 in an SWSC Blue dual match.
Decisions over Bradley-Bourbonnais (2-1) and Andrew (5-2) allowed Stagg to exit last week with a plus-.500 ledger for three matches. Lincoln-Way East got the better of the Chargers in an SWSC Blue match by a 3-1 count last Thursday.
Roberto Torres was a key figure for Stagg (7-2), as he notched one of the team’s two markers versus the Boilermakers and had a goal and assist opposite the Thunderbolts. Sebastian Kolpak also tallied in the win over Bradley.
Chicago Christian collected a pair of Suburban Christian Conference victories last week as it powered its way past both Aurora Central Catholic (5-1) and St. Edward (7-1).
Getenet Timmermans was a one-man wrecking crew for the Knights on Saturday, as he had a hand in all seven of their scores against the Green Wave. Timmermans knocked in four goals of his own and assisted on the other three.
Adam Canfield and Jake Robertson were among Christian’s scorers in Tuesday’s triumph over the Chargers.
Sandburg split a pair of SWSC crossover matches last week. After falling short of Lincoln-Way North by a 1-0 score on Thursday, the Eagles (7-4) rebounded to down Bradley-Bourbonnais 2-1 on Saturday.
Abe Ziad and Przemyslaw Tylka produced Sandburg provided Sandburg’s goals in the victory.
Ivan Magana’s pair of goals was all Shepard (5-4-1, 4-1) needed to gain a 2-0 SSC Red triumph over Richards last Thursday.