Rose Koper, Hummel power Royals to wild-card rout

Playing their first CIF playoff home game in several years, San Marcos’ seniors rose to the occasion and led the Royals to a 16-4 blowout win over visiting Redondo in a CIF Division 1 water polo wild-card game on Tuesday.

Brittny Hummel controlled the defensive end and sharpshooter Rose Koper sparked the offense with four of her five goals in the first period.

The win advances the Royals (19-11) into a first-round game Wednesday at Century League champion Foothill.

Redondo, the No. 3 team from the Bay League, finished at 14-11.

San Marcos jumped on the Sea Hawks from the start, roaring to a 9-1 lead in the first period. Many of the goals were started by Hummel’s steals. She would soar out of the water to snare passes into the 2-meter area and then start the counter attack.

“She’s the girl behind everything that works for us,” San Marcos coach Chuckie Roth said of Hummel. “If she wasn’t defending so much, she’d be scoring a heck of a lot more. “She’s the backbone of our defense.”

Hummel was the team’s second leading scorer Tuesday with four goals.

Koper was a force up front for the Royals, and Redondo didn’t have an answer for her.

“Rose Koper is a great shooter … she is a great shooter,” raved Roth. “She has a phenomenal wrist and a great knack to put the ball in the back of the cage.”

Koper said the Royals were pumped up to be at home for a playoff game.

“We came out really hard. We were really fired up for this game,” she said. “We had a lot of support in the stands, so we came out hard.”

Koper said the team was determined to win this wild-card game after suffering a tough 9-7 loss last year against El Toro.

“Everyone wanted to win this wild-card game,” she said. “Tomorrow is going to be tough but we think we can do it. We’ve never gotten past the first round.”

The Royals should be rested for the matchup with Foothill as Roth was able to clear his bench early.

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