The Segerstrom Jaguars celebrate after their 7-6 victory over Temescal Canyon in the CIF-SS boys water polo Division 6 final at the Woollett Aquatics Center in Irvine Saturday.

Segerstrom claims Div. 6 title with sensational finish


IRVINE The motivation sprung into focus. High-scoring freshman Jose Barajas and goalie Christian Sanchez heated up. Even a struggling power play converted when it mattered most.

“The stars aligned,” Segerstrom attacker Nicholas Navarro said.

With all the elements for a comeback in place, the Jaguars couldn’t be stopped in the CIF-SS Division 6 boys water polo final Saturday morning.

Top-seeded Segerstrom rallied from a three-goal deficit late in the third period by scoring the final four goals en route to a 7-6 victory against No. 2 Temescal Canyon of Lake Elsinore at the Woollett Aquatics Center.

Temescal Canyon (19-14) led, 6-3, with less than 11/2 minutes left in the third before the Jaguars (27-4) closed with two goals apiece by Seth Chavez and Barajas to finally solve 6-foot-6 goalie Gabriel Thorne (14 saves).

Barajas snapped a 6-6 tie by skipping in an extra-man strike with 2:37 left in the fourth quarter as the Segerstrom claimed its second CIF title in three seasons under Coach Tim Fredericksen.

“We kind of built this (program) so it’s nice to be the first legacy,” said Navarro, a senior who collected three steals in the final period.

Barajas netted the winner for his team-high third goal. Navarro sparked the chance by stretching high for a steal and drawing the exclusion on the counterattack.

Sanchez helped seal the victory with a power-play save with about 1:30 left in the fourth. The junior made four of his 11 saves in the final period.

Navarro added a steal against another power-play chance with 36 seconds left. Sanchez sealed the title with a steal on an errant pass in the closing seconds.

Chavez tied the score, 6-6, on a power play goal with 4:11 left.

The junior said the memory of losing last season in the Division 6 final against Malibu provided an extra push.

“(We’re) not going back to that. (We’re) going to win,” Chavez thought.

After making one of its first seven chances on the power-play, Segerstrom converted its final two in the fourth. Temescal Canyon went 0 for 3 in the fourth to finish 2 for 6.

“They came through when they needed to,” Fredericksen said of his players. “We have a great, perfect storm going on with work ethic and support.”

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