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Los Alamitos sinks Huntington to emerge as Sunset favorite
The stage had been set since the end of last season for a new contender to emerge in the Sunset League.
Los Alamitos' girls water polo team sealed its status as that team Wednesday night.
Sophomore Madison Ravelo scored two of her three goals in the fourth period and freshman goalie Tara DeBrabander finished with six saves and two steals as the No. 7 Griffins (14-9, 4-0) claimed at least a share of the league title with a 10-7 victory against No. 9 Huntington Beach at Newport Harbor.
Lauren Dvonch also had three goals for the Griffins and her sister Katie Dvonch added four steals.
Los Alamitos took a 6-5 lead into the fourth but used a strong final period to sprint past Huntington Beach. The Griffins won the final period, 4-2, but the Oilers scored their second with two seconds left.
"The girls have been doing a really good job lately finishing games," Los Al coach Dave Carlson said.
Los Alamitos closes league next week against Marina. The Griffins seized a league race that opened after heavy graduation at defending champion Newport Harbor. The Sailors reloaded with a mix of young talent and veterans while the Oilers continued to build with their up-and-coming players.
But it was Los Alamitos, with the return of Carlson from a one-year absence and just three returning starters, who emerged from a quiet summer and fall to claim the league's No. 1 entry for the Division 1 playoffs.
Carlson said Los Alamitos struggled in its summer and fall leagues. The Griffins won one match at the Santa Margarita summer league and won just twice at the Newport-CdM fall league. But they never stopped improving.
"We got a bunch of blue-collar, scrappy workers," he said. "They work their tails off. Now they're doing a good job going out and competing."
Los Alamitos topped its Wednesday night by sending captain Lauren Dvonch off to the school's Queen of Courts ceremony as a winner of the biggest Sunset League game of the winter.
Courtney Heydorff scored six goals for the Oilers (15-8, 2-2).
Newport can claim second place with a win next week against Edison.
In the Freeway League:
Troy 15, La Habra 12 (OT): Celest Solis, Claire Schade and Alex Dowell scored in the second three-minute period to lift the Warriors past goalie Maddi Garcia (20 saves) at Buena Park.