By Chris Chaney
Four Milford High School water polo players were tapped as the best of the best in the state of Ohio as Carolyn Storch, Lindsey Bugajski, Josh Fritz and Alex Hahn earned spots on the All-Ohio team.
Storch, a senior member of the girls’ team, was named to the First Team All-Ohio. She had an exceptional season in the water for the Lady Eagles and helped to lead the team to a 20-16-1 record and the cusp of a state championships appearance.
An offensive dynamo, Storch ended her season just shy of 100 goals, stuck on 99 while also assisting on a team-best 23 others. She showed her flexibility by adding 64 steals on defense.
“Carolyn had an absolutely phenomenal year,” head coach Sarah Kleinfelter said. “She really stepped up and took a leadership role for us this year. She never backed down from having to go against some of the top players in the state.
“There were times that she did things that left us speechless. If we couldn’t get a play to work or get anybody open, she created her own shots and she would score practically every single time..”
Aside from her First Team All-State selection, Storch was named the most valuable player on the team at the team’s awards ceremony as handed out by Coach Kleinfelter.
Not alone on the girls’ team in All-State honors, Storch was joined by Bugajski, an All-State Honorable Mention selection.
Also a senior, Bugajski scored 21 goals, added 21 assists and had 56 steals.
“Lindsey has one of the most amazing lob shots I have ever seen,” Kleinfelter said, effusing praise. “That was her key shot. She’d just be there and if the goalie dropped their guard for even a second, she’d pick it up and lob it in.”
Despite the boys’ team not having the success of their female counterparts, two guys were named to the All-Ohio list — Josh Fritz and Alex Hahn.
Fritz, also a senior leader in the water for Milford, was selected to the Second Team All-State. An offensive force as well, Fritz scored nearly half of the team’s goals, posting 115 and sharing top assist honors with fellow All-State honoree Alex Hahn with 26. Fritz also accrued 76 steals.
Kleinfelter said not only will his scoring ability be missed, but also his work ethic and lead-by-example mentality.
“Josh is going to leave a huge deficit for us (after graduation),” the coach said. “He was our only lefty on the team and it’s hard with no lefties because they get shots at angles that the right-handed kids can’t make. He was the top scorer and the top shotmaker.
“He was always working so hard and trying to help set up scoring opportunities for other players. It was pretty common that he would ask either me or my assistant to get in to play defense on him just to make him work a little bit harder.”
Hahn, also a fourth year player for the Eagles, was tabbed as an All-State Honorable Mention selection. Aside from sharing the team assists top mark with Fritz, he was the team leader in steals with 127 and he scored 17 times. However, Kleinfelter said what the team will miss most about Hahn is what he did outside the pool.
“Alex was really a top leader for us,” Kleinfelter said. “It was a rough season for us, but we knew going in that it wasn’t going to be an easy season. It’s hard not to get down when you’re only 5-28, but he always tried to find the positive in things.
“After a couple of our games when we couldn’t get anything to work, he called all the boys to the back hallway and the only thing he said they were allowed to talk about at the team meeting were positives and what they did well in those games. He really worked to keep us focused on what we were trying to do.”
With the exception of Bugajski, each of the All-State water polo players will be swimming for Milford in the winter, all of whom have high expectations for themselves and their team as they round out their careers at Milford.