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Yorba Linda handles pressure, beats Villa Park
Yorba Linda's girls water polo team continued to play Friday like a squad to watch not just in Division 6, but Orange County.
Junior Taylor Best scored all four of her goals in the third period to help lead the host Mustangs past Villa Park, 9-2, in a nonleague match.
Yorba Linda (9-2) led, 2-1, at halftime but won the third period, 5-0, and then scored the first two goals of the fourth.
The Spartans (10-6) played without leading scorer, center Marcela Portales (broken finger), but Yorba Linda still impressed.
Villa Park featured junior goalie Keri Tombrello, who made a few high-level blocks to finish with 10 saves.
"I'm confident that we can play with anyone, at least within our division," Yorba Linda coach Jeff Gorman said.
"I've tried to put as much pressure on these girls as I can leading into most games so that we're comfortable with handling pressure."
Yorba Linda again showed that it's most comfortable on defense. The Mustangs held Villa Park to one even-strength goal – a backhanded shot from Kiana Etrata at center in the fourth – and kept the Spartans scoreless for almost a 20-minute stretch.
Junior Becca Stephenson anchored Yorba Linda's active defense with 14 saves.
Yorba Linda's signature game so far this season was a 5-4 loss against top-10 ranked Rosary on Dec. 6.
"That Rosary game was a huge game for us as far as our confidence," Gorman said. "With us right now, it's just trying to play a full four quarters."
In another nonleague game:
No. 3 Corona del Mar 13, Irvine 3: Greek transfer Stephania Haralabidis scored five goals in her debut while her twin sister, Ioanna, added one goal and an assist to lead the host Sea Kings (6-2). Cassidy Papa scored four goals for Corona del Mar.