Dons give Sailors a good battle

Santa Barbara High’s girls water polo team played its best game of the season when it mattered most, coming up with an upset bid that came up just short at No. 2-seeded Newport Harbor in a 5-3 CIF Division-I quarterfinal on Friday.

The two teams were knotted at 3-3 before the Sailors took the lead for good with just under three minutes to go. They added an insurance goal a minute later.

Charlotte Hendrix scored Santa Barbara’s first two goals on Friday.

“I’m really happy with how we played,” said Dons head coach Mark Walsh. “It would have been nice to win but just being in the game was good for us.”

The Dons opened with a 2-1 lead after the first quarter on the strength of two goals from Charlotte Hendrix. Maddie Trabucco did her part in the cage, collecting five saves in the first quarter alone.

Santa Barbara failed to score again until Makenzy Fowler’s goal in the fourth quarter but the Dons’ defense limited the Sailor to one goal per period through three.

Freshman goalie Maddie Trabucco reaches out for one of her ten saves.

“They worked their tails off today,” Walsh added. “I really felt like we had a win today.”

Kaleigh Gilchrist carried Newport, responsible for three goals.  The Sailors face Corona del Mar in Wednesday’s semifinal.

The Dons return every player next season except for senior Leah Gonzales.