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Water Polo

SBCC Women’s Water Polo Claims First State Title

Emma Fraser named MVP after Vaqueros beat Sierra, 8-6, in final

The SBCC women’s water polo team celebrates winning its first State Championship. Click to view larger
The SBCC women’s water polo team celebrates winning its first State Championship. (Mike Robles photo)

SBCC needed just four years to reach the pinnacle of community college water polo, winning its first-ever California Community College Athletic Association Women's Water Polo Championship with an 8-6 win over Sierra College on Saturday at Cuesta College.

Emma Fraser had three goals and three assists for the top-ranked Vaqueros, who lost in the final last year.

Fraser, a freshman from Canada, was named tournament MVP. Halie Johnson and Meagan Mckillican were all-tournament picks. Johnson had a goal and seven steals while Mckillican notched three steals.

The championship comes in just the fourth year of the program.

"When I started this program four years ago, I never thought this was going to happen," said SBCC coach Chuckie Roth, who earned his 100th career win with Friday's 11-7 semifinal win over San Joaquin Delta. "It's a testament to these young women. They wanted it and they practiced incredibly hard... I'm lucky to be along and I'm lucky to coach each one of them.

“Halie Johnson led this team with integrity, character and experience," he added. "The girls were resilient today. This was a product of months of preparation on teamwork and mental toughness. They were committed and determined,  and they bought in from Day 1.”

Santa Barbara started fast with Kemi Dijkstra, Sarah Parson and Kelee Schimizu tossing in goals for a 3-0 lead. Sierra got two back, then Fraser made it 4-2 with a 10-meter shot with 1:24 to go in the second quarter. The Vaqueros led 4-3 at halftime.

Sierra (25-6) of Rocklin became the first Northern California team to reach the state final in 10 years.

Alexa Negrete scored 15 seconds into the second half to tie it at 4-4. The Vaqueros responded with three straight goals 2:04.

Fraser threw in a 12-meter bomb, Tori Bray skipped one in on a 6-on-5 and Johnson scored on an assist from Fraser to make it 7-4 Vaqueros with 4:17 left in the third.

Stephanie Friesen and Shanta Reisinger wouldn't let Sierra go away, connecting on goals just 26 seconds apart to bring the Wolverines within one, 7-6, just 17 seconds into the fourth.

Fraser made her third long shot of the game from straightaway with 1:17 to play, boosting the lead to two goals.

“This is a special day for all Vaqueros,” Roth declared. “I promised this four years ago to a group who I told to ‘create the culture.’ To all my athletes –  a heartfelt thank you. Each of you laid the foundation on which this year’s team was able to win a championship.”

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