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El Toro again turns away Los Alamitos
El Toro girls water polo co-coach Brett McCleave knew some weren't completely convinced by his team's victory earlier this month against Los Alamitos in the finals of the Villa Park Classic.
Don't count McCleave among the doubters.
He believes in the Chargers, and they made him look smart Tuesday.
Allison Skaggs scored from center with about three minutes left in the fourth period to lift No. 4 El Toro past No. 5 Los Alamitos, 8-7, in a nonleague match at El Toro.
El Toro (7-1) defeated Los Alamitos (7-2) by the same margin Dec. 8 in the Villa Park tournament, but the Griffins were without their best player, Stephanie Mutafyan.
The senior was at the FINA World Youth Water Polo Championships in Perth, Australia.
Mutafyan played Tuesday, but El Toro emerged with its seventh consecutive victory.
"It's gigantic," McCleave said. "Some people said, 'Oh, they (the Griffins) didn't have their best player (last time).' I still stand by the fact that my team can play with anyone when we're playing like that."
El Toro, ranked No. 1 in Division 2, never trailed Tuesday against Los Alamitos, ranked No. 4 in Division 1 and coming off an impressive 9-7 victory at Santa Barbara on Saturday.
The Chargers led by as many as three in the first half and 7-5 in the third. But Los Alamitos knotted the score at 7 on Mutafyan's match-high fifth goal with 3:53 left in the fourth.
Junior Ella Weber scored the Griffins' other two goals.
"She's unbelievable," McCleave said of the Cal-bound Mutafyan. "I told the girls, we have to play team defense and make the other girls beat us."
El Toro countered Mutafyan with a balanced effort. Skaggs led five Chargers in scoring with three goals. Delaney Riley added two goals and Shelby Rascon, Lauren Norheim and Ashley Riley each added one.
Emily Browning made three of her seven saves in the fourth period for El Toro. The Chargers' defense also held Los Alamitos to a 1 for 5 effort on the power-play.
In other nonleague games:
Mater Dei 14, Harvard-Westlake of North Hollywood 5: Mackenzie Barr scored four goals and Mia Salvini added three to the lead the visiting Monarchs (3-4).
Beckman 12, Aliso Niguel 7: Nikki Daurio scored five goals and Rachel Emami added three for the host Patriots (7-2) against the No. 3-ranked team in Division 4.
In the Century League:
Villa Park 10, El Modena 5: Sophomore Marcela Portales scored three goals and Keri Tombrello made 11 saves to lead the host Spartans (10-5).
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