GWP: Dons’ defense, counterattack too much for Royals, 9-4

A three-goal flurry in the second period and solid defensive play propelled Santa Barbara High to a 9-4 win over San Marcos in an early Channel League girls water polo match Thursday at the Dons pool.

With the score tied at 2-2, Jessie Brummett fed Jessica Gaffney for a goal on a counterattack to put the Dons ahead for good at the 1:34 mark of the second period. They came right back on another break, with Gaffney throwing a diagonal pass to Erin McGeoy, who finished at the far post for a 4-2 advantage.

Santa Barbara forced a turnover and Betsy Hendrix delivered a back-breaking goal, scoring on a lob as the shot clock was about to expire.

?They did a really good job countering us; I have to give them credit,? San Marcos coach Chuckie Roth said of the Dons. ?They wanted to get down the pool faster than we did and that?s when the started to open it up.

?We made any kind of mistake or missed a shot and they capitalized on it. That?s how you play big water polo.?

Santa Barbara goalie Sienna Goggia turned in a solid performance, making 10 saves.

“I was very pleased. I thought Sienna, our goalie, played outstanding,” Santa Barbara coach Mark Walsh said. “I thought she made a lot of great saves on every type of shot – 6-on-5, point-blank, off counterattacks, center, perimeter, they tried lobs, they tried hard shots – I thought she did a great job today.”

The second quarter took all the drama out of what was expected to be a tight match against two CIF Division 1 top-10 teams ? Santa Barbara (3-2, 1-0) is ranked sixth and San Marcos (6-2, 1-1) is ninth.

?That was huge,? Walsh said of the 3-0 run. ?I had the feeling it was going to be 1-1, 2-2, that it was going to be close the whole way, just the way the first quarter went. I had the feeling it was going to be one of those grind-out games.?

Paige Hauschild scored all four goals for San Marcos.

Paige Hauschild scored all four goals for San Marcos.

Santa Barbara kept control of the match in the second half. Jessie Brummett stole the ball and the Dons converted the turnover into their sixth goal, with Annie Brummett scoring inside. Gaffney snuffed a San Marcos power play with another steal.

The Royals ended their scoring drought when they were awarded a penalty shot. Paige Hauschild converted at the 4:30 mark of the third period. It was their first goal since 2:48 of the second period.

San Marcos earned another 6-on-5 opportunity but a bad pass derailed the scoring chance. A hustling Hauschild got the Royals within two goals (6-4) when she stole the ball and scored with three minutes left in the third period.

The freshman accounted for all of San Marcos? goals.

Santa Barbara regained momentum with another nice play by Gaffney. She fed Anna Brummett for the goal, putting the Dons ahead 7-4.

After Hauschild hit the post, Betsy Hendrix fired a crossing pass to a charging Jessie Brummett who scored easily to make it 8-4 early in the fourth period.

A Gaffney steal set up the Dons? final goal. After the steal, Annie Brummett fired a long ball to Hendrix, who pulled up and lobbed it over the goalkeeper.

?It was a really big game,? said Gaffney of the early league matchup with the Royals. ?I think we really played to our potential in this game. We told everybody, if you?re gong to come, this is the game to come and see. They?re one of our top competitors for Channel League. And one of our main goals is to win Channel League.?

Hendrix led Santa Barbara in scoring with three goals, while Annie and Jessie Brummett each scored two.

Jessica Gaffney of Santa Barbara looks for an open teammate while be guard by Brittany Prentice of San Marcos. (Presidio Sports Photo).

Jessica Gaffney of Santa Barbara looks for an open teammate while be guard by Prentice of San Marcos. (Presidio Sports Photo).

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