Fenwick goalie Buglio comes up big to stuff No. 2-ranked McAuley
Oak Park, 03/13/13--Fenwick's goalie Lexi Buglio stops a shot. Fenwick High School hosted Mother MacAuley High School in girls water polo Wednesday evening. | Jon Langham~for Sun-Times Media
Updated: March 25, 2013 10:23PM
OAK PARK — Entering the fourth quarter Wednesday night, Mother McAuley seemed poised to knock off two-time defending girls water polo state champion Fenwick and hand the rival Friars a rare home loss.
The Mighty Macs outplayed Fenwick in the third quarter and took a lot of momentum into the fourth when Amy Kopale scored at the buzzer for a 3-2 lead.
That was the last shot McAuley — ranked second in the state — would get past Fenwick goalie Lexi Buglio, however. Buglio made 10 saves to help the top-ranked Friars escape with a 5-3 win in a Metro Catholic Aquatics Conference game in Oak Park.
“I had to stay focused and trust my teammates,” Buglio said. “I knew we’d come together as a team. This was a big win.”
Alexa Ovalle (2 goals) tied the game in the opening minute of the fourth on a power play and Cara Borkovec’s second and third goals of the night gave the Friars (2-0, 2-0) the 5-3 lead with three minutes left.
“We started to play as a group in the fourth quarter,” Fenwick coach Jack Wagner said. “And our stars started to play like stars. (Borkovec) knows it’s her job to score those big goals and Alexa may be the best passer in the state.”
Kopale, Kristen Kleist and Fran Williamson scored for McAuley (3-1, 1-1), while Sarah Abbott made eight saves.
McAuley was snake-bitten late, pounding shot after shot off posts or crossbars.
The Mighty Macs missed plenty of chances to take a bigger lead into the fourth, as Kleist, Kopale and Clare Bryar all hit the crossbar on good looks.
“We have to hit the net,” McAuley coach Vanessa Carroll said. “We had a lot of chances, and we just couldn’t hit the net.”
Buglio denied Kopale with a strong save with 1:51 left to seal the win.
“We have a tradition of pretty good goalies here,” Wagner said. “(Buglio) is just learning how to do it and for her to come along at this stage, in her second game, was huge.”