Winter notes: Valencia's Garcia earns top honor at wrestling tournament
Valencia girls wrestler Gabby Garcia earned the Lower Weight MVP honor at the The Go Big or Go Home Classic on Saturday at Tustin.
Garcia won all four of her matches by fall in the 126-pound division.
Canyon’s Aleeah Gould (108), Santa Ana’s Josahandy Moreno (133) and Godinez’s Maria Sanchez (191) also won individual titles.
Mater Dei’s Julie Calzada (Mater Dei, 145), Los Alamitos Nielda Andraska (152) and Tustin’s Auva Rahbari (191) reached the finals.
Corona won the team title. Santa Ana and Godinez finished fourth and fifth, respectively.
The one-day tournament drew 300 wrestlers.
The wrestlers had the opportunity to meet former UFC strawweight champion and current No. 2-ranked strawweight Carla Esparza. Esparza wrestled at Redondo Union and Menlo College. Esparza addressed the wrestlers and the crowd before the start of the tournament.
- DAMIAN CALHOUN
GIRLS WATER POLO
Orange Lutheran’s girls water polo team placed two players, Kelsey Tyler and Emma Skelly, on the all-tournament team after capturing the Santa Barbara Tournament of Champions.
But Coach Steve Carrera made it clear there were other contributors, too, in the victories that pushed the Lancers to the top of the Orange County rankings for the first time.
Carrera started the freshmen combination of goalie Alyssa Barnuevo, Hannah Palmer and Brooke Hourigan in the semifinals and finals on Saturday, and all three played well.
“That is the big thing, knowing that we have sophomores and freshmen who are contributing,” said Carrera, who placed seniors on the all-tournament team.
“We don’t want to be a one-and-done. We’re developing.”
In an 8-7 victory in the final against Foothill, Palmer scored twice and forced a critical turnover late in regulation.
Barnuevo, who trains with Lancers goalie coach Jacob McIntosh, made nine saves in the final, including one at the end of regulation that forced the first of two sudden-death periods.
Barnuevo and Palmer have been starting this winter, and Hourigan started in place of Campbell Ruh, who took an elbow to the head in the quarterfinals against Royal of Simi Valley. Hourigan had two steals and two drawn ejections in the final and two assists in the semifinals.
Twins Mollie and Myna Simmons also were clutch performers. Mollie had four steals in the final and drew a penalty shot late in regulation that Skelly converted for the tying goal.
“We’ve been waiting for her to step up,” Carrera said of Mollie. “She really played well.”
In an 8-7 victory against Laguna Beach in the semifinals, Myna had three goals, five steals and drew four ejections in one of her best matches. …
Laguna Beach rebounded from its semifinal loss to beat San Marcos of Santa Barbara, 10-3, in the third-place game behind 15 saves by Holly Parker and three saves by Bella Baldridge.
“Hopefully that last game was a bounce back,” Laguna Beach coach Ethan Damato said.
“Losing Thursday night (to Dos Pueblos of Goleta) was hard on everybody, and I think it paid a toll on us this weekend. For whatever reason, we just got in a funk.”
Parker and Baldridge also were all-tournament selections along with Foothill’s Brooke Maxson and Val Ayala.
- DAN ALBANO
Santa Margarita’s girls soccer team opened Trinity League play last week with a victory over JSerra, 4-0, which was ranked No. 10 in the county at the time.
The third-ranked Eagles (11-4-0, 1-0-0) face another tall task Tuesday when they will try to shut down the imposing offense of fifth-ranked Mater Dei (10-2-3, 1-0-0). The teams meet at Mater Dei at 3 p.m.
The Monarchs’ attack is led by forwards Hailey Hopkins and Olivia Ware.
Eagles coach Chuck Morales says the key to defending them lies elsewhere.
“Forwards don’t get the ball unless they get the service,” Morales said. “You have to put pressure on their backs.”
That means that Santa Margarita’s attention will be turned to Miami commit Lauren Markwith.
“Lauren is going to move the ball forward and she is also a very good defender,” Morales said. “We need to play away from her. She is an attacker from the back, and she is a big, big weapon for them. She’s the first point of attack. We need to be working to limit her touches.”…
Northwood’s Danielle Solaru had a hat-trick in a 6-0 win over University. The Timberwolves (6-4-5, 2-0-1) are tied with Beckman (9-3-6, 2-0-1) for first in the Pacific Coast League. Northwood will host Beckman on Thursday. …
Top-ranked Esperanza had clean sheets last week against Brea Olinda, 4-0, and El Dorado, 3-0. The Aztecs open Crestview League play with a road game against Canyon on Wednesday.
- ANDREW TURNER, Contributing writer
This team is different form most that Coach Don Skaff has fielded during his time at Tesoro. He doesn’t have any elite players to carry the Titans.
But this year’s roster, Skaff said, is balanced and loaded with experience.
All the team needs, according to Skaff, is some confidence.
“I have a lot of good players that get along well and play well together,” Skaff said.
The Titans shut out Santiago, tied Edison and beat Fountain Valley and Dana Hills to win the Mustang Cup last month.
Last week, the Titans beat Dana Hills, 2-1, in a Sea View League game. Jordan Martin scored both goals for the visting Titans.
The Titans are ranked third in CIF-SS Divison 2.
“We are just finding ways to win games,” Skaff said.
“This year we are getting the breaks. That wasn’t happening to us last year. Things are bouncing our way.”
This week will go help determine if the Titans can win the league title. On Friday, Laguna Hills will be at Tesoro. The Hawks beat the Titans, 2-0, on Jan. 8 in the Sea View League opener.
- DAMIAN DOTTORE