Yorba Linda's Taylor Best takes a shot on goal while under pressure by Pacifica's Caroline Thorn during Thursday's game.

Yorba Linda earns Empire League title


Yorba Linda's girls water polo team had plenty to celebrate Thursday, and didn't hold back.

The Mustangs leaped back into the pool after defeating visiting Pacifica, 15-9, in a Division 6 showdown for the Empire League title.

It was Yorba Linda's first league crown and a payback of sorts after losing the title last season to Pacifica on a last-second shot in double sudden-death overtime. The Mustangs (17-4, 6-0), ranked second in Division 6 to Pasadena Poly, also took a major step toward perhaps securing a No. 2 overall seed for the playoffs.

Yorba Linda coach Jeff Gorman joined the pool party but cautioned his players to keep pushing for new goals.

"Our job isn't over yet," he said. "There's something special about this team. They, all season, have really come to play in big moments."

Yorba Linda showed that ability against Pacifica (17-9, 5-1), ranked third in Division 6. The Mustangs led, 5-2, after the first quarter and 11-3 at halftime.

Senior Taylor Leach, starting for the ill Brittany Amaya, scored five goals to pace the Mustangs. Jessica Castellano added four goals, while Taylor Best had three goals.

Goalie Rebecca Stephenson racked up 13 saves to anchor Yorba Linda's defense. Casey Burke added a team-high four steals.

Sarah Camburn and Kassie Winn each scored three goals for Pacifica.

“Yorba Linda played awesome – they deserved to win,” Pacifica coach Eric Andersen said. “Take away our second quarter of turnovers, and second half we came back and outscored them, 6-4.”

In the Freeway League:

Troy 15, Sunny Hills 8: Alison Lany matched her season-high with eight goals and Jessica Harris made eight saves to help the visiting Warriors (21-8, 10-0) claim the league title.

In nonleague:

No. 2 Corona del Mar 11, No. 4 Santa Margarita 7: Ioanna Haralabidis led six players in scoring with three goals and Erica Weed added 11 saves to lead the Sea Kings (23-5) past the host eagles and Haley Wan (four goals).

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