The Clairemont Varsity Girl’s Water Polo team finished off an excellent weekend in the Gold Division of the Western Tournament in Los Angeles with another epic come back victory to take home the third place honors. Great start to 2019 Ladies!!
SEMI FINALS – SAN JUAN HILLS 5, CLAIREMONT 2
The Lady Chieftains found themselves matched up with the Stallions of San Juan Hills in the semi finals Saturday morning. The Stallions, ranked #1 in Southern Section’s Division 4, proved to be every bit as tough as their ranking suggested. The Stallions were strong and physical, and utilized a very aggressive press that gave our girls fits. Offensively, San Juan Hills had alot of fire power on the perimeter to worry about, as Clairemont learned very early when the Stallions opened up a 2-0 lead 2 minutes into the first quarter. But to our girl’s credit, they adjusted and took away San Juan’s sharp shooters, for the most part, for the remainder of the game. Senior captain Ella Denny managed to finally break through the Stallion’s defenses late in the first half to bring the game to 3-1 at half. Both sides battled fiercely back and forth through the second half, but the Chiefs could not mount another signature 4th quarter comeback against the Stallion press. San Juan hit an empty netter goal late in the game after Clairemont pulled their goalie into the field for one last desperation attempt to score, bringing the final score to 5-2.
Goals – Ella Denny (2)
Assists – Phoebe Currigan (1), Shea Herndon (1)
Saves – Hope Lovich (9)
THIRD PLACE MATCH – CLAIREMONT 8, LAKE ELSINORE 7
The Lady Chiefs went back to the well this game, waiting again until the 4th quarter to mount another epic and improbable comeback to claim the third place game over a stunned Lake Elsinore. The Tigers out hustled and out worked Clairemont throughout the first half, and built a commanding 5-2 lead by halftime. Senior goaltender Hope Lovich did everything in her power to keep the game close in spite of her team’s offensive woes, securing 8 saves in the first half. Senior Captain Abby Keegan netted her second goal of the game early in the 3rd to give the Chiefs a glimmer of momentum, but Elsinore responded with an immidiate goal to quell that aspiration. The fourth quarter was looking to be much of the same as Elsinore controlled the pace of the game through most of it. Then, in a what felt like the blink of an eye, the Chiefs were BACK! Sophomore Shea Herndon put away a shot on a power play with 3 miutes remaining in the quarter to bring the score to 6-4. Lovich recorded another big save on the ensuing Elsinore possession, leading to a counter attack the other way which resulted in sophomore Fiona Flanagan earning a power play for her team. The Chiefs showed patience, and sophomore Phoebe Currigan ripped a shot cross cage to draw the Chiefs within one. 5 seconds later, senior captain Ella Denny stole a pass on the perimeter and took off down the pool with a 2 on 1 advantage with junior Ashlynn Sauerwein, who put away Denny’s cross pass to tie the game with 2 minutes remaining! But Lake Elsinore showed their courage and poise as well, answering on their next possession with a power play goal to retake the lead. Pressure is where our girls thrive, and Lovich made a huge stop from point blank range, recovered the rebound, and immidiately located Currigan tearing down the pool all alone with a pass, and Currigan did the rest to even the game once more! 42 seconds remained. 7-7 tie. Elsinore made their best effort on the next possession but were stopped yet again by Lovich. In transition, Herndon entered a pass to Keegan in the center, but the Tigers were all over her. Through sheer will power and strength, Keegan managed to pop the ball out to – YOU GUESSED IT – Currigan, who struck a dagger into the hearts of Lake Elsinore as she found the back of the net for third time in 3 minutes to give Clairemont their first lead. Elsinore gave one last attempt with 12 seconds remaining, but were stopped by an impressive defensive play by junior Erin Flynn and the clock expired! Elsinore looked on in disbelief as the Chieftains celebrated with a fervor only a 3 minute – 5 goal come back can inspire!
Goals – Phoebe Currigan (3), Abby Keegan (2), Ella Denny (1), Ashlynn Sauerwein (1), Shea Herndon (1)
Assists – Ella Denny (2), Fiona Flanagan (2), Hope Lovich (1), Erin Flynn (1), Kaitlyn Heindl (1)
Saves – Hope Lovich (15)
The Clairemont Girl’s Water Polo team improves to 10-6 on the season after going 4-1 in LA to start off 2019. Up next, the Chiefs host Scripps Ranch for a league match at home on Wednesday January 9th at 6pm. COME OUT AND SUPPORT YOUR CHIEFTAINS!!