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BILL ALKOFER , STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER
Orange Lutheran's Hannah Palmer, left, tries to knock the ball away from Mater Dei's Hannah Constandse during Tuesday's match.

Simmons' long-shot goal propels Orange Lutheran to victory

STAFF WRITER

ORANGE Mollie Simmons isn’t known as a scorer for Orange Lutheran’s girls water polo team, but the junior came through with an important and stunning goal Tuesday in a Trinity League showdown.

The attacker, known for her speed, tossed in a shot from beyond midpool to beat the halftime buzzer, sparking the top-ranked Lancers past No. 5 Mater Dei, 13-8, in a physical duel at Santiago Canyon College.

Orange Lutheran (20-3, 3-0) led, 7-6, when Simmons stole the ball and drew a foul in the closing seconds of the first half. She launched a shot that went three-quarters the length of the pool and floated cross-cage until it went in off the goal post.

Emma Skelly scored the first three goals of the third period, and goalie Alyssa Barnuevo made a point-blank save as the Lancers opened an 11-6 lead to take control.

“Huge,” Orange Lutheran coach Steve Carrera said of Simmons’ goal. “That pumped me up.”

Simmons called it a “lucky” shot and likely the longest one she has made.

“I’m not a big shooter on our team, so that was a pretty cool shot to make,” she said. “(The score) was kind of close and to get that goal made us more pumped.”

Barnuevo, a freshman, made a point-blank save in front of the cage about two minutes into the third. She also tipped away another point-blank attempt with 40 seconds left in the period.

Skelly (five goals) gave Orange Lutheran a 12-7 lead going into the fourth by blasting in a shot off the far post from 7 meters. It was the Lancers’ third goal on a bar-in shot. Myna Simmons, Mollie’s sister, skipped in a perimeter shot off a post to open the scoring.

With Kelsey Tyler (five assists) mostly guarding center, Orange Lutheran pressed and limited the exclusions Mater Dei (14-6, 3-1) earned at center. Tyler wasn’t excluded while the Monarchs finished 4 for 7 with the extra attacker.

The Lancers went 3 for 5. Freshman Hannah Constandse paced the Monarchs with three goals.

Contact the writer: dalbano@ocregister.com


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