San Marcos finishes strong at SoCal Championships

San Marcos finished the Irvine Southern California Championships on a positive note, winning its last two matches to finish 21st in the 32-team girls water polo tournament.

“The kids really came together after the loss last night (against Anaheim-Canyon 7-6),” San Marcos coach Chuckie Roth said. “That was a wake-up call. They came out today and really put it together.”

The Royals started the day with a 9-6 comeback win against Villa Park. They trailed 6-5 going into the final period.

Halie Johnson led the attack with five goals. Hannah Koper added two and Ashley Wagner and Frannie Kuesis scored one a piece.

Natalie Chilton and goalie Jenna Phreaner played huge on defense. Chilton had four steals, three of which led to counterattack goals.

“She quarterbacked the whole thing,” said Roth.

Phreaner had five saves and five steals.

The San Marcos goalie came up with five huge blocks in a 12-9 win over Mira Costa.

“That was her best performance of the year,” Roth said.

Koper was the leading scorer with five goals. Johnson and Riley Heiduk each score two and Wagner, Chilton and Kuesis added one.

Roth said Kuesis and Chilton stepped up big in the tournament, which will help the team as down the stretch.

The Royals (10-16) have a big home game on Tuesday against Ventura. A win gives them third place and a CIF playoff berth. A Ventura win would force a one-game playoff for a spot in CIF. The game is at 4:15 p.m.