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Water Polo

Fourth-ranked San Marcos Works Overtime to Get Past Santa Barbara

This much is certain about the San Marcos girls water polo team as it enters the CIF playoffs: the Royals will be battle tested.

The Channel League champions and fourth-ranked team in Division 1 needed an overtime goal from Paige Hauschild on Thursday to get past No. 7 Santa Barbara, 9-8, and finish league play undefeated.

San Marcos heads into the playoffs having played five of the top-10 teams in the division, No. 2 Laguna Beach, No. 3 Foothill, No. 5 Dos Pueblos and No. 6 Corona del Mar. They lost only to Laguna Beach in the final of the Southern California Championships.

Santa Barbara gave them a tough battle on its Senior Day.

"It was a back-and-forth battle the entire game with each goal by the Royals being answered by the Dons," said San Marcos coach Chuckie Roth.

Kristina Garcia scored five goals, Alex Szymczak earned two penalty shots and Dons goalie Joie Ruiz played a solid game with eight saves.

"Kai McGeoy had a great defensive game defending Paige Hauschild most of the game," Santa Barbara coach Mark Walsh.

A key factor for San Marcos was its defense on Santa Barbara power plays. The Royals didn't allow a goal on eight Santa Barbara 6-on-5 opportunities.

Piper Smith had three goals to help the Royals take the lead in the third quarter. But Santa Barbara tied the score at the end of the fourth quarter to force overtime

In the extra period,  Hauschild won the sprint and scored the game winner.

The Royals finished 8-0 in league while the  Dons went 4-4. The teams will learn their CIF playoff draw on Saturday.

Noozhawk sports editor Barry Punzal can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.

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