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Mater Dei flashes potential in loss to Santa Barbara
SANTA ANA – Mater Dei's girls water polo team remained a work in progress Thursday, but it provided a peek that the final product could be special.
The Monarchs welcomed back Brianna Daboub from a shoulder injury as they played host to Santa Barbara in a nonleague game.
The junior gave the Monarchs another scoring threat, but Cal-bound goalie Maddie Trabucco had the final word, making 16 saves to lead the Holiday Cup-bound Dons to a 14-8 victory.
Santa Barbara (3-3), a Division 1 contender, also used a swift counterattack to help erase an early 2-0 deficit. The Dons scored on three counters in the first to spark a 4-0 run.
Santa Barbara put away Mater Dei (3-5) with a 6-0 run during a nearly 10-minute stretch of the second and third periods.
Daboub finished with one goal, but the Monarchs looked more dangerous with her at the right-hander's shooting spot on the power play, complementing UCLA-bound Mackenzie Barr (five goals, six drawn ejections) and Sydney Blubaugh (two perimeter goals).
"There are glimpses of really good stuff going on," Mater Dei coach Chris Segesman said.
"But we have to put it together. ... We went up 2-0 and then Santa Barbara went into an M-type defense and split and we just made some stupid mistakes. ... But I like what I see from these girls. I'm excited Brianna is back."
Mater Dei, last season's Division 2 runner-up, is putting the pieces together in mid-stroke. While Daboub – a 141-goal scorer last season – returned, Audrey Light was out because of a knee injury.
The Monarchs started freshmen Mia Salvini and Kayla Constandse and first-year goalie Anna Politiski against a Santa Barbara team with six returning starters. Politiski had 11 saves.
Mater Dei also is adjusting to the return of Barr, a 136-goal scorer last season who played at the recent FINA world youth championships.
"Our season really starts Jan. 5 when we play El Toro (ranked No. 1 in Division 2)," Segesman said.
Trabucco made five saves against Mater Dei's power play, which finished 3 for 7.
"In my opinion, she's the best goalie in high school," Dons coach Mark Walsh said.
"She works super-hard at it and wants the team to be good. She knows that a team is only going to be as good as their goalie play."
Kelsey O'Brien added five goals and three assists for Santa Barbara, which finished 5 for 8 with the extra attacker.
The Dons play in the Holiday Cup in Newport Beach on Friday and Saturday.