Kate Meyer of San Marcos fires a shot past a Foothill defender during Saturday's game between top-five teams in CIF-SS Division 1. Credit: Peter Neushul / Noozhawk photo / Noozhawk.com

Ava Stryker and Kate Meyer scored consecutive goals in the fourth period to help the San Marcos girls water polo team hold off Foothill for an 11-10 win in an intense battle of CIF-SS Division 1 top-five teams on Saturday morning at the Santa Barbara pool.

Stryker, who led all scorers with five goals, gave the Royals a 10-8 lead with 2:45 remaining in the quarter. Meyer, who provided a huge lift for the team, made it a three-goal difference with her second goal of the quarter at the 1:49 mark.

Foothill’s Rachel Gazzaniga put away two shots before the final buzzer. She led the Knights with four goals.

“We had a lot of impressive performances and it takes a team to win,” said San Marcos coach Chuckie Roth. “We distributed the goal scoring amongst the team. We came out very aggressive and finished aggressively. This group has a lot of heart.”

San Marcos (8-2) came into the game ranked fifth in Division 1 while Foothill was No. 3.

Ava Stryker of San Marcos gets inside a Foothill defender and beats the goalie for a big goal in the fourth period. (Peter Neushul / Noozhawk photo)

The Royals jumped out to a 4-1 lead in the first quarter on two goals each from the USC-bound Stryker and freshman phenom Charlotte Raisin. Raisin finished with three goals.

Foothill roared back in the second period, capitalizing on San Marcos exclusions to tie the score at 4-4.

San Marcos regained the lead on a goal by Stryker with 23 seconds left in the period and led 5-4 at halftime.

Raisin scored to start the third period, and the teams traded goals until Stryker and Meyer converted back to back to give San Marcos a two-goal cushion in the fourth period.

“They are all in, and it was great to see the team step up,” said Roth. “Kate Meyer returned to the line up yesterday (against Santa Barbara) after six weeks of being out for a broken finger. She had two goals and was instrumental in the team’s win.”

 The Royals resume play at the Newport Beach tournament after
the Christmas holiday.

San Marcos center Reagan McEachen draws a crowd of Foothill defenders as she tries to score. (Peter Neushul / Noozhawk photo).
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Barry Punzal, Sports Editor

— Noozhawk sports editor Barry Punzal can be reached at bpunzal@noozhawk.com. Follow Noozhawk Sports on Twitter: @NoozhawkSports. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.