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Water Polo

Santa Barbara Beaten on Last-Second Shot in CIF Division 2 Water Polo Final

Newport Harbor capitalizes on late turnover for 4-3 victory

The Santa Barbara High girls water polo team finished as runners-up in CIF Division 2. Click to view larger
The Santa Barbara High girls water polo team finished as runners-up in CIF Division 2. (Courtesy photo)

After winning a semifinal game on a last-second shot, the Santa Barbara High girls water polo team was stunned in the same manner in the CIF-SS Division 2 final on Saturday.

In a wild turn of events, Newport Harbor turned a Santa Barbara turnover following a drawn exclusion into a last-second, game-winner from long distance for a 4-3 victory over the Dons at the Woollett Aquatic Center in Irvine.

A game-winning scenario appeared to be in Santa Barbara's favor in the final seconds of the defensive battle. The Dons had the ball with 24 seconds remaining in regulation. They worked it into Grace Raisin at two meters and Raisin drew an ejection. But on the restart, Newport Harbor intercepted a little lob pass in front of the goal, passed it back to the goalie and called time out with 10 seconds left.

When play resumed, Jessica Lynch came off a pick, got the ball from goalie Erin Ross at 8 meters out and fired a shot just under the cross bar for the go-ahead goal with three seconds left.

Santa Barbara was unable to get off a shot and finished as Division 2 runner-up.

"We did a poor job on offense, with too many turnovers and poor shooting," summed up Santa Barbara coach Mark Walsh. 

In the semifinals, Santa Barbara beat top-seeded San Clemente 9-8 on a Georgia Ransone goal with five seconds left in regulation. The Dons held San Clemente to two goals in the second half.

They played another tremendous defensive game in the final, and Faith Tedesco continued to come up big in goal.

The offense, however, had trouble generating quality chances against a swarming Newport Harbor defense.

Raisin drew an exclusion and scored at two meters to tie the score 1-1 at 2:33 of the first period.

Newport Harbor reclaimed the lead with a shot to the far post at 6:04 of the second period, and the Sailors went up 3-1 on a Sarah Barker shot at the 4:09 mark.

Newport Harbor dropped as many as three players to keep the ball from getting into the Cal-bound Raisin. 

The Dons got an opportunity on a power play late in the period but the shot hit the post. 

Ransone scored from distance to make it 3-2 at 3:07 of the third period and the UC San Diego signee tallied the tying goal on a power play after an exclusion drawn by Raisin.

The Dons defended against a Newport Harbor power play to keep the score even going into the fourth period.

The Santa Barbara defense continued to frustrate the Sailors. Ransone made a field block, Jordan Duggan deflected a shot wide and Tedesco saved a shot to the far post.

Raisin had a chance at a go-ahead got hit off the cross bar. 

Newport Harbor drew an exclusion on a counterattack and called timeout to set up play. The Sailors went to Anne Rankin and she was denied by Tedesco, who made 13 saves in the game.

The Sailors later came up big on defense, getting back on a Santa Barbara counterattack and preventing a shot with a minute to go.

Both teams had possessions stopped by offensive fouls before the crazy final 24 seconds.

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