Livermore, CA - After three straight years of coming in second place, the Riverside City College Women's Water Polo team finally broke through on Saturday afternoon at Las Positas College. The Tigers overcame a furious comeback by Santa Barbara City College to defeat the Vaqueros 9-8 in overtime for their 6th overall title.
The Tigers would get off to a fantastic start on the afternoon scoring the game's first three goals, two of which were courtesy of Mary Myers. Santa Barbara would break up the Riverside run with a 6-on-5 goal by Kendra Carr early in the second quarter, and would pull to within one after a goal by Addison Seale on their very next possession. Riverside proved to be relentless on the defensive end though, and snuffed out the Vaquero offense for the remainder of the first half and took a 4-2 lead into the break after Anay Ramirez scored with just 31 seconds left to make it 4-2.
Riverside would push their lead to four towards the end of the third, after another score by Myers, this one on a power play opportunity, made it 8-4. Santa Barbara would respond a few possessions later, and then go on to score three goals in the fourth quarter, getting the game tying goal off a strike Seal with 2:30 left in the game.
In overtime, the two teams continued the defensive showing with neither team gaining advantage early. That was until, Meyers put the Tigers ahead with 10 seconds left in the first overtime, making the score 9-8. In the second three minutes of overtime, Riverside continued to apply strenuous amounts of defensive pressure on Santa Barbara. The Tigers would keep Santa Barbara off the scoreboard in that stretch, hanging on for the one point overtime win.
In the win, Myers, who would be named Tournament MVP, scored a game high four goals, while contributing a team high five steals. Ramirez and Emily Martin would add two scores each, while Sarina Briseno would do everything but score with seven steals and four exclusions drawn. Not to be outdone, Ariana Olmos finished with 10 saves, three of which came in the all important second overtime, adding a pair of steals for good measure. For Santa Barbara, Carr and Seale each scored twice, with Seale adding six steals.
3rd Place Game
In the third place game, San Joaquin Delta College overcame an early hole to rally against conference rival Sierra College to claim the conflation prize. The Mustangs trailed 4-1 early in the second quarter, but outscored the Wolverines 12-8 over the final 23 minutes of action to claim their highest every finish at the State Championships.
Sierra would come out the gates hitting on cylinders getting goals by Megan Plank, Jeanete Saldana, and Rebecca Robinson to surge to a 3-1 lead after the first quarter. Robinson would score again early in the second, on a 6-on-5 chance, to stake Sierra to a 4-1 lead. Unfortunately for the Wolverines, that sparked a 5-1 run in the second quarter by the Mustangs that saw Michaela Smith score three of those five goals including one with 43 seconds left in the first half to give the Mustangs their first lead of the game 6-5.
Delta would never trail after that, though Sierra did their best to overcome the Mustangs, tying the game up at 10-10 earl in the fourth quarter after a goal by Elise Welch made it 10-10. Delta responded with three of the next four goals, with all three coming from different Mustangs to help seal the victory.
In the win, Delta would be paced by Smith who scored a game high six goals. Smith also had a game high three assists, while Kate Allen finished with four goals for the Mustangs. For Sierra, Plank would score a team high four goals, with Alyssa Alvarez handing out three assists and swiping a game high six steals.
Mary Myers (SO) UTIL - Riverside City College - MVP
Emily Martin (SO) 2M - Riverside City College
Ariana Olmos (SO) G - Riverside City College
Mackenzie Richards (SO) G - Santa Barbara City College
Ivanna Bilaver (FR) C - Santa Barbara City College
Michaela Smith (FR) ATT - San Joaquin Delta College
Elise Welch (SO) UTIL - Sierra College