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Mater Dei holds off El Toro in 11-10 thriller
RANCHO SANTA MARGARITA – The Mater Dei-El Toro water polo rivalry heated up Saturday night, and seemingly on cue, produced the final score that helped build its legacy.
Mater Dei's No. 8 girls defeated No. 4 El Toro, 11-10, in a match that put the "show" in the Division 2 showcase event at Santa Margarita.
"Crazy isn't?" Mater Dei coach Chris Segesman said. "Famous score."
In the 2010 boys season, Mater Dei and El Toro dueled four times, each game finishing 11-10, including a thrilling Division 1 final claimed by the Monarchs.
El Toro's lone victory in that series also marked the last time Mater Dei's boys lost. Now, girls water polo has the rivalry.
Mater Dei's duo of Mackenzie Barr and Brianna Daboub scored goals in a span of 40 seconds in the middle of the fourth to snap a 9-9 tie.
El Toro's Valerie Spezzaferri cut the Monarchs' lead to 11-10 with a perimeter strike with 2:26 left, but Mater Dei sealed the victory against the top-ranked team in the division with a steal by Courtney Jarvis in the final seconds.
First-year starting goalie Anna Politiski also starred for Mater Dei in the fourth, making four of her nine saves.
Segesman pointed to Saturday as a season opener of sorts for the Monarchs (5-5). They recently became full strength with the return of Barr (U.S. youth team) and Daboub (injury).
"Basically, it was just our chance to arrive and really show everyone what we plan to do this season," said Barr, who scored the go-ahead goal from center with 3:23 left.
Mater Dei showed composure. The Monarchs had a go-ahead, six-on-four goal by Daboub with 4:37 left disallowed because an ejected El Toro player stayed in the penalty area too long after not being correctly waved into play.
Mater Dei also overcame another missed six-on-four later in the fourth and a five-goal outburst by El Toro in the third.
"I thought our girls recovered really nicely, surprisingly," Segesman said. "I was nervous. ... We have some younger girls. Some older girls. I'm really proud of them."
Barr and Daboub each finished with three goals.
Mater Dei's mobile attack went 4 for 10 on the power play and fouled out three El Toro starters. The Chargers faced a drop defense against its center, Allison Skaggs (three goals), and finished 1 for 2 with the extra attacker.
"All credit to Mater Dei," El Toro coach Brett McCleave said. "Honestly, I'd rather lose it right now because I'm not going to be the one losing in the end."
In other Division 2 showcase games:
No. 6 Santa Margarita 15, M.L. King of Riverside 10: Emily Loughlin scored eight goals to lead the host Eagles (10-1).
Santiago of Corona 18, San Clemente 12: Taylor Shore scored six goals to lead the reigning Division 2 champion Sharks. Amber McCutcheon netted four for the Tritons.
Agoura 13, Murrieta Valley 12: Aley Vilches scored six goals, including the winner with 35 seconds left for the Chargers. Paige Virgil scored six for the Nighthawks while Maddie Sanchez added five.
Riverside Poly 12, Rosary 6: Jessica Hermosillo made 17 saves for the short-handed Royals. Rosary played without injured starters Anastacia Gonzalez and Katie Tijerina.
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