Ava Stryker
Ava Stryker of San Marcos, shown in an earlier game, scored six goals for the Royals in a 9-8 overtime loss to No. 2 Laguna Beach in the CIF-SS Open Division quarterfinals. (Peter Neushul / Noozhawk file photo)

The San Marcos girls water polo team lost a heartbreaking 9-8 decision in overtime against second-seeded and defending champion Laguna Beach in the quarterfinals of the CIF-SS Open Division playoffs on Thursday at Newport Harbor High.

Junior Ava Stryker scored six goals for the Royals, who held a one-goal lead for most of the game.

Laguna Beach tied the score at 7-7 with less than a minute remaining in regulation time to send the game into overtime.

The Breakers (24-5) got four goals from Charlotte Riches and two from Hannah Carter to beat San Marcos (23-12) for the fourth time this season. The last meeting was decided by two goals.

Madison Sparre and Reagan McEachen each had a goal for the Royals, and goalkeepr Elaia Hamilton played “a phenomenal game,” with 16 blocks and several steals, coach Chuckie Roth said.

‘I’m super proud of how we played tonight,” Roth said. “We’ve improved tremendously throughout this year, and unfortunately we lost to one of the top-two teams in the country.

“We’re bummed, but I’m so proud of our team’s achievement and the way we played together.”

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