In her five years coaching 's girls water polo team, coach Karen Desruisseaux has come within one game of the state tournament twice.
Once she lost to Homewood-Flossmoor, and another time it came at the hands of district rival .
"Ew. I hate losing to East," Desruisseaux said. "It haunts me to get that close and lose in the final game."
She and the Knights team faced those demons this year and made a trip to state, beating Homewood-Flossmoor 5-4 last weekend. The trip to state is the first in school history for both the boys and girls teams.
Now, the Knights will play New Trier at 8:15 p.m. Friday at Stevenson High School in Lincolnshire. They're one of eight teams left in the playoffs, three wins from a state title.
"It's pretty awesome," Desruisseaux said. "I was crying at the end of the game (against Homewood-Flossmoor)."
The emotional and tight 5-4 win was the rubber match between H-F and Central. Earlier this season, the Knights won by 1 point and later lost by 1 point in overtime, after star Danijela Jackovich fouled out.
"We knew if we saw them in sectionals it was going to be the game of all games," Desruisseaux said.
For Jackovich, she got revenge over H-F because she was the lone team member who played in the sectional championship loss a couple of years ago. She was the captain for the USA Youth National Team last year, but the coach also credited other players for stepping up in the playoffs.
She said goalie Caroline Fogelton has played great, and sophomore Liz Klock stepped up by switching positions to fill in for an injured player.
"We graduated some people and I thought it would hurt us, but the seniors really stepped up and the sophomores have been extremely good," Desruisseaux said.
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