By Zach Cavanagh
For in-game updates, news and more for all San Clemente High School sports programs, follow us on Twitter @SouthOCSports.
Girls Water Polo Edged in Final Seconds of CIF-SS Semifinal
San Clemente tied their Division 2 semifinal with Santa Barbara on a penalty shot with 19 seconds remaining, but Santa Barbara got back down the pool and scored the game-winner with five seconds left to eliminate the Tritons on Feb. 21 at the Woollett Aquatic Center in Irvine.
The two teams got off to an explosive start to combine for 12 goals in the first half with a 6-6 tie at halftime. The teams combined for just five goals in the second half as defense and patience ruled the day.
“We hadn’t seen each other all year, really,” San Clemente coach Logan Powell said. “We kind of stayed away from each other in tournaments, different pools. It probably took a half for the girls and the coaches to figure each other out a little bit.”
Junior Brooklyn Aguilera scored the first two goals for San Clemente to tie the game at 1-1 and 2-2.
The Tritons took the lead on back-to-back goals by sophomore Caroline Christl, a laser at 3-2 and a bouncing penalty shot at 4-2. Christl led the Tritons with four goals and surged into the team’s season lead in goals (64) with 14 goals in three playoff games.
“She came on really strong in the back half of the season,” Powell said. “She’s just a natural talent. She can shoot the ball really well, moves really well, is explosive and strong.”
Santa Barbara tied the game at 4-4 to open the second quarter, and the teams fought for the lead as Christl and Aguilera each scored again to put San Clemente ahead. Santa Barbara tied the score again on a buzzer-beater before halftime.
Then the teams slowed down and traded a goal each in the third quarter. Alison Echelberger scored for the Tritons.
“That was kind of the difference,” Powell said. “We kind of stopped moving and got a little stagnant. They did a good job on defense.”
Santa Barbara went ahead one minute into the fourth quarter, and San Clemente couldn’t muster anything until the final minute.
Christl scored on a penalty shot with 19 seconds left, but Santa Barbara got in one more with the clock winding down.
Echelberger’s desperation half-pool heave hit the crossbar as time expired.
Girls Basketball Dropped in Home Quarterfinal
Cabrillo of Lompoc stormed the Tritons on Feb. 21 with a 23-point win in the CIF-SS Division 3AA quarterfinals at San Clemente High School.
Cabrillo led after the first quarter, 24-11, and was up by 25 points at halftime.
Senior Shae Waters led San Clemente with 12 points, and sophomore Ella Gardiner put together a double-double with 11 points and 10 rebounds.
Spring Sports Previews Next Week
Spring sports started in earnest this week with wins from baseball, softball and boys volleyball.
Check out next week’s edition of the San Clemente Times for previews on spring sports teams.