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Loughlin powers No. 7 Santa Margarita to victory
HUNTINGTON BEACH – Emily Loughlin led all scorers with seven goals, and No. 7 Santa Margarita cruised past Huntington Beach, 19-8, Friday in a nonleague girls water polo game at Huntington Beach High.
Haley Wan added six goals, and Nikki Doumas had six saves to help the Eagles (6-0) remain undefeated.
Santa Margarita poured it on early, opening the game with eight consecutive goals to give the Eagles a vice-grip over the Oilers (2-2).
Loughlin, who will be attending Cal next fall, led the charge with four goals in that span.
Eagles coach Kevin Ricks attributed the run to his team's defense. It allowed the Eagles to capitalize on several outnumbered attacks in transition.
"I think (the run) was just us doing a good job of playing defense," said Ricks. "I think being aggressive on the counter spurred us."
Santa Margarita had success being physical with the Oilers. The Eagles perimeter defense suffocated Huntington Beach attackers, preventing them from getting close to the cage.
The Eagles looked as though they would run away with this one, but the Oilers matched Santa Margarita's intensity in the second quarter. Sabrina Nguyen and Sam Preston scored two goals apiece in the period, as Huntington Beach closed the gap to 11-5 at halftime.
Santa Margarita put the game away in the third quarter. Loughlin and Wan combined to score five goals in the last five minutes of the frame to give the Eagles a 16-7 edge.
A contributing factor in the Eagles' success was their efficiency with the man-advantage. Santa Margarita converted all six of its six-on-five opportunities from the second quarter on.
Ricks said finishing power play chances with goals was a major focus in practice, adding that if they combined good spacing with good passing, they could find the open player.
The Eagles had no difficulties finding the open player in this game. Wan was the beneficiary of several cross-cage passes, and she cashed in with three power play goals for the day.