GWP: Brummett, Dons pull off upset to reach CIF semis

Santa Barbara High vs Corona del Mar CIF water polo

Santa Barbara High’s girls water polo team celebrates its sudden-death victory on Saturday at Corona del Mar. (Peter Neushul Photo)

Capped by Jessie Brummett’s game-winning sudden-death goal, Santa Barbara High’s girls water polo team defied probability on Saturday to triumph in its CIF quarterfinal upset of third-seeded Corona del Mar 10-9.

The Dons avoided defeat by scoring with four seconds left in the fourth quarter to force overtime, and, after falling behind 9-7, fought back again to force sudden death.

Once there, Brummett’s game-winner came with 31 seconds left in the game’s seventh period after Erin McGeoy drew her third ejection of the match.

Most of regulation was a low-scoring struggle, with CDM holding a 4-3 lead entering the fourth quarter. Jessica Gaffney tied the game at 4-4 early in the period and two goals by Kristina Garcia gave Santa Barbara its only lead of the game at 6-5. Garcia scored a team-high four goals for the Dons.

Corona del Mar scored the next two, the second coming with 12 seconds on the clock. Facing defeat, Gaffney was able to put back a rebound in the final seconds.

The Sea Queens, last year’s CIF-ss Division-1 champions, earned a two-goal advantage early in the second overtime but Santa Barbara rallied again on goals by Betsy Hendrix and Anna Brummett, setting the sudden-death stage.

The result places Santa Barbara High into the Division 1 semifinals for the second year in a row. The Dons are matched up with second-seeded Newport Harbor on Wednesday in Irvine. Top-seeded Laguna Beach faces Los Alamitos in the other semifinal.