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Roundup: Segerstrom rallies past Aliso Niguel in thriller (video)
It was a matter of survival for Diana Jimenez and her teammates on the Segerstrom girls water polo team.
Trailing by three goals entering the fourth period at Aliso Niguel, they didn’t want their breath taken away Thursday night.
“All we know is water polo,” Jimenez, a senior co-captain, said. “So when we were playing, we were like, ‘If we lose this game, we don’t have a life after this.’ We were fighting for our lives.”
The Jaguars found life in the fourth period thanks to their defense and hot outside shooting.
Sophomore Lucy Barajas capped a furious rally by scoring on a cross-cage lob shot from about 8 meters with 34 seconds left as Segerstrom edged Aliso Niguel, 9-8, in the first round of the CIF-SS Division 4 playoffs.
Aliso Niguel (22-4) called timeout after Barajas’ goal – which gave Segerstrom its first lead – but freshman Destiny Hernandez stole the ball on the perimeter with about 18 seconds left to seal the victory for the Jaguars (22-9).
Aliso Niguel led, 8-5, going into the fourth but Segerstrom scored four consecutive goals.
“This is huge. (Aliso Niguel) is a good program,” Segerstrom coach Tim Fredericksen said.
“We’ve really been working on mental toughness, and just keeping the pressure on and giving yourself an opportunity to make something happen when it’s critical. And today, it just showed.”
Segerstrom not only trailed, 8-5, going into the fourth, the Jaguars played the match without starters Faith Cuevas (concussion) and Brooke Branum (ineligible).
But Hernandez scored on a counterattack 28 seconds into the fourth. Jimenez netted a perimeter strike with 3:16 left and the strong-armed Hernandez put away a quickly-released counterattack shot with 1:34 remaining to tie the score, 8-8.
Barajas, the sister of boys standout Jose Barajas, won the game on her lone goal. Mia Favela had two steals in the fourth while goalie Jacqueline Lopez made two of her eight saves in the fourth.
“In a close game, they just made a couple more plays,” said Aliso Niguel coach Erick Lynch, who squad received four goals apiece from center Shannon Swanson and attacker Jordan Werkmeister and nine saves from Kaitlyn Amado.
Segerstrom plays host to top-seeded Canyon in the quarterfinals Saturday. Canyon edged Segerstrom, 14-13, at the Valhalla tournament.
Also in Division 4:
Canyon 11, Chino Hills 2: Center Kendal Montgomery scored four goals and Liz Horan made 11 saves for the host and top-seeded Comanches.
Laguna Hills 17, Newbury Park 13: Bailey Lloyd scored 11 goals to pace the Hawks, who play Peninsula next.
In Division 2:
Troy 10, Mira Costa 9 (OT): Megan O’Malley scored four goals, including one in overtime at Sunny Hills, to help lead the Warriors (24-6), who play top-seeded Agoura next.
La Canada 8, Dana Hills 7: Sydney Baba scored five goals and goalie Kaley Hardgrave made 17 saves blocks but the Dolphins fell just short at Pasadena City College.
In Division 6:
Redlands East Valley 10, Kennedy 9 (OT): Morgan Kramer scored in sudden-death overtime as the visiting Wildcats (15-12) stunned the Fighting Irish (19-8).
Costa Mesa 5, Arcadia 1: Kendra Ferguson scored twice and Michelle Vu made 14 saves to lead the host Mustangs, who play Redlands East Valley in the quarterfinals Saturday.
Garden Grove 13, Norco 8: Allison Williams scored four goals and Andrea Corrigan added three to lift the host Argonauts (19-10), who play at No. 4 seed Downey next.
In Division 7:
In the second round:
Western 11, Palm Springs 8 (OT): Erika Trujillo scored five goals for the visiting Pioneers (20-7).
Estancia 9, Fontana 7: Sophomore Katelyn Chesemore scored three goals and Hannah Smith made 12 saves to help the host Eagles reach the quarterfinals for the first time. Estancia plays host and top-seeded Santa Ynez next.