Villa Park girls show their disappointment after losing to Redondo. Villa Park was playing Redondo in the CIF-SS Division 3 championship game in Irvine on Saturday, February 25, 2017. (Photo by Bill Alkofer,Orange County Register/SCNG)

Villa Park tripped up in final by Redondo


IRVINE Redondo Union and Villa Park entered the CIF-SS Division 3 girls water polo final well-known for their prowess on the counterattack. The unknown was what would separate the teams.

Enter Redondo freshmen Julia Janov and Katherine Wrightsman.

Janov, daughter of former Golden West College and USC star Peter Janov, scored five goals and played strong perimeter defense and Wrightsman made 12 saves as No. 2-seed Redondo captured its first section title with a 10-5 victory against No. 1 Villa Park at Woollett Aquatics Center.

The Sea Hawks’ victory capped a breakthrough season. Redondo (29-3) won the Bay League for the first time and claimed the Bonita tournament. Two of its losses were against Schurr, which defeated Riverside Poly for the Division 2 title.

“We came from the bottom and now we’re at the top. It’s amazing,” said Redondo’s Sophia Maguy, a Stanford-bound senior who scored twice. “My freshman year we struggled to make CIF. We’ve come such a long way.”

Janov, her team’s third-leading scorer behind Maguy and Katelin Harris, netted two perimeter shots in the first half as the Sea Hawks opened a 4-3 lead.

Late in the third period, Janov drove into center and tossed in a backhanded shot to help Redondo open a 7-4 lead. The SOCAL club player added a counterattack strike to start the fourth, extending Redondo’s lead to 8-4.

Janov also marked Villa Park’s high-scoring Lindsy Peterson, who entered with 132 goals. Janov was part of a defense that limited Peterson to one goal, a counterattack strike with that made it 8-5 with 4:46 left in the fourth.

Redondo forced four offensive whistles against Peterson in the second period.

“She definitely stepped up,” third-year Redondo coach Shelby Haroldson said of Janov. “She had a really great game, probably one of her best.”

Haroldson said Wrightsman also played one of her best matches. She made four saves against a Villa Park power play that finished 0 for 6. Redondo went 2 for 6.

Bri Portales paced Villa Park (23-10) with two goals before fouling out in the fourth. Captain Morgan Stiewig made several strong saves and finished with eight. But the Spartans finished 5 for 31 shooting.

“They finished more of their shots,” Villa Park coach Zach Larkin said of Redondo. “They did a good job scouting us. They had a good idea what our extra-man looked like. They shifted in a way we weren’t used to.”

Larkin put Villa Park’s third CIF runner-up finish into perspective by remembering seniors Peterson, Stiewig, Portales and Victoria Vega.

“They set the bar really high for the younger girls,” he said.

As Redondo showed, the younger girls can be difference makers.

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