The San Marcos girls water polo team lost a close game in the semifinals of the Villa Park Tournament Saturday, and then rallied back for a decisive win in the third-place game.

Los Alamitos 11, San Marcos 9

The Royals fought hard to stay close in the semifinal contest, but fell short at the end.

Sophomore Lucy Haaland-Ford had one goal, one earned ejection, and five

steals for San Marcos, and senior Regan McEachen had two goals, three earned ejections, and one steal. 

San Marcos 13, Long Beach Wilson 5

Senior and USC commit Ava Stryker had an outstanding game with seven goals and three steals in a game that gave the Royals third place in the tournament.

Elaia Hamilton “went crazy” with 11 blocks, San Marcos coach Chuckie Roth said.

The Royals kept a strong lead throughout, coming out of the gates with a 5-0 first quarter lead and then keeping the momentum going.

 “I’m proud of my girls,” Roth said, capping off the weekend. “Although unfortunate to lose, we missed a lot of shots and there are areas of growth for us. We will get better and it’s all part of the process. Win or lose, I like this team and would not trade it for anything else.”

San Marcos’ record is now 4-2 with a busy week ahead. 

On Tuesday the Royals host Oxnard at home, then host Ventura Wednesday and travel to Santa Barbara Friday to take on the Dons. All three of those contests start at 3:15 p.m.

Then on Saturday the Royals play Foothill Prep at Santa Barbara at 10 a.m. The annual alumni game starts at noon in the Royals’ home pool.

Santa Barbara Loses Two

The Dons fell to Santa Margarita, 10-6, and Martin Luther King, 11-6, and finished eighth at the 32-team Villa Park Tournament.

Olivia Obando, Ella Maclear, and Layla Szymczak had 2 goals each against Santa Margarita The Dons trailed 8-5 with four minutes to go but couldn’t close the gap.  

Layla Szymczak had three goals and Siena Kelly, Maria Bittle and Abby Webber had one in the loss to MLK.  

Nalani Yim had 14 saves and 5 steals on the day.

“The girls battled two tough Division 1 teams today shorthanded, missing two main players,” said coach Mark Walsh. “The girls played a lot of minutes against great competition this weekend.  I could not be more proud of their effort.

Santa Barbara (4-3) hosts Rio Mesa on Wednesday.

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Dennis Moran, Noozhawk Correspondent

Noozhawk correspondent Dennis Moran can be reached at Follow Noozhawk Sports on Twitter: @NoozhawkSports. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.