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Water Polo

San Marcos, Dos Pueblos Advance to Tournament of Champions Semifinals

Royals get rematch with No. 1 Laguna Beach; Chargers take on Mater Dei for 2nd time in a week

Brittany Prentice of San Marcos looks for an open teammate while being pressured by Natalie Tuerk of Orange Lutheran. Click to view larger
Brittany Prentice of San Marcos looks for an open teammate while being pressured by Natalie Tuerk of Orange Lutheran. (Barry Punzal / Noozhawk photo)

San Marcos and Dos Pueblos turned in impressive performances Friday night and advanced to the semifinals of the Santa Barbara High girls water polo Tournament of Champions.

San Marcos gained some revenge against Orange Lutheran, scoring a 12-6 win against the team that beat it in last year’s CIF Division 1 semifinals. 

The big win gives San Marcos another shot at No. 1 Laguna Beach in one semifinal game on Saturday at Dos Pueblos’ Elings Aquatic Center at 11:10 a.m. The Royals lost a pre-tournament game against the Breakers on Thursday, 12-5.

"We’re excited to have another chance and redeem ourselves," said Royals senior Paige Hauschild, who scored nine goals in two wins on Friday. The Royals started their day with a 12-5 win over Newport Harbor.

Dos Pueblos will play Mater Dei in the other semifinal at 12:15 p.m. at Elings. The Chargers advanced with a stunning 13-3 rout of Foothill. The result avenged their only defeat this season, a 12-8 decision in the season opener.

The Chargers (13-1) took over the game in the second half, outscoring the Knights 9-1.

Ryann Neushul scored three goals to lead DP. Sophie Leggett, Toni Shackelford and Jewel Roemer tallied two apiece and Kayla Peacock, Thea Neushul, Olivia Kistler and Grace Heck added single goals. Goalie Anna Cable made seven saves and had two assists.

Earlier in the day, jumped out to a 7-1 lead against Santa Margarita and won 9-5. Abbi Hill, Ryan Neushul and Toni Shackelfords each had two goals.

The semifinal will be the second meeting between DP and Mater Dei in Goleta. The Chargers won the previous game last Saturday, 15-14, in overtime.

San Marcos (6-1) got solid play all over the pool and shut out fourth-seeded Orange Lutheran (6-2) in the second half to reach the semifinals.

Hauschild and fellow senior Brittany Prentice set the tone for San Marcos in a very physical match. Prentice got things going with two tough goals in the first period and drew a penalty shot in the second, which Hauschild converted for a 5-4 lead.

"I love those guys," said San Marcos coach Chuckie Roth of his four-year players. "Those kids mean a lot to me. They carried the team for the first half. There were some other kids that made some key plays, but their energy showed how much they wanted to win that game tonight."

Hauschild said the pre-game speech got everyone fired up.

“We had a huge talk before the game and all the girls got really excited,” she said. “So, when we got the first three goals, I think everyone was super excited and we tried to keep it going for the whole game.”

Goalie Sophie Trumbull passed to Fiona Kuesis for a breakaway goal and 6-4 advantage. But Orange Lutheran battled back and got goals from Alyse Tyler and Hannah Palmer to knot the score at 6-6 before halftime.

San Marcos right away regained the upper hand  in the third period as Prentice fought off Orange Lutheran defenders before lobbing the ball over the goalkeeper to give San Marcos the lead and start a 5-0 run in the period. Lili Rose Akin followed with a goal from long distance and then Hauschild scored back-to-back goals, the first one on a penalty shot. Akin capped the period by finishing a feed from freshman Megan Musick on a power play.

Freshman Cassidy Miller threw a long pass to Hauschild, who drilled a shot into the back of the net for the only goal of the fourth period.

Haushchild scored four goals, Prentice had three, Akin two and Miller, Piper Smith and Fiona Kuesis one apiece.

A San Marcos and Orange Lutheran player are both submerged during a battle for possession of the ball. Click to view larger
A San Marcos and Orange Lutheran player are both submerged during a battle for possession of the ball. (Barry Punzal / Noozhawk photo)

The water was churning a lot from the combat going on between the Royals and Lancers. Haushchild said it wasn’t surprising the game with Orange Lutheran was more physical than others. 

“It usually tends to be when we play that team,” she said with a chuckle. “We definitely wanted to get some revenge on them after they ended our season last year.”

Freshmen Miller and Musick handled the physical play without any problems.

"It was really physical, definitely," Miller said. "It’s really good experience, though, to play against those girls and learn how to deal with all of that."

Roth was pleased how the team stepped up after losing the night before to Laguna Beach.

“The girls came out and wanted to play well today. I’m really proud of how we set ourselves. At halftime (against Orange Lutheran), we basically said we’re going to be better in the third than we were in the second.”

Said Hauschild: "I think we all, as a team, played better," Hauschild said of the day. "When we play as a team it creates a lot of opportunities for everyone. Since we played so well together everyone learned from all their mistakes in the last games. I think actually that was a really good game for us against Laguna. There was a lot of stuff we did wrong. When we watched the film and talked about it, we really learned a lot. I think all in all everyone played a lot better and we played really well as a team.”

In other action, Santa Barbara got off to a slow start and lost a 5-2 decision to Huntington Beach. The Dons bounced back and beat Martin Luther King 6-5 on Georgia Ransone's goal with seven seconds left.

Ransone and Abigail Hendrix each scored two goals and Grace Raisin had a goal, earned six ejections and blocked the potential game-tying goal.

In the first game, Santa Barbara went 0 for 10 on power-play opportunities. Anna Hepp and Abby Brummett scored for the Dons, who play La Jolla's The Bishop's at home at 11:10 a.m.

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

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