Posted on 08 February 2016 by La Habra Journal
By Jason Burch
La Habra Journal
La Habra and the No. 3 team in CIF Division 3, Troy battled through six tightly contested periods before the Lady Warriors came away with a 15-12 victory to decide the top spot in Freeway League girl’s water polo last Wednesday night at Buena Park High School.
Nothing gets by: La Habra goaltender Maddi Garcia looks to pass the ball to a teammate during a recent game. Garcia made 20 saves against Troy in the overtime battle last Wednesday, where the warriors won 15-12.
Maddi Garcia came up with four of her record 20 total saves in the first overtime, but after Troy forced three turnovers in the final 2:25, a rebound put-back finally got past the Lady Highlanders goalkeeper with just :02 to play in the first overtime. Troy’s aggressive length of the pool defense coupled with the mounting pressure of the situation forced La Habra into a few bad passes that led to three breakaway scoring opportunities. “I think we rushed in a couple key spots, which led to bad passing which led to steals,” said La Habra Head Coach Courtney Robertson. “I think that is what led to two or three of their goals at the end.” Garcia elevated and blocked all three potential scores, however the third save ricocheted back to a Troy player, who lobbed in the go ahead score from two meters out to make it 12-11 going into the final overtime frame. With their backs against the wall and fatigue setting in, La Habra added one more goal in the second overtime, but was ultimately outscored 3-1 to give Troy the victory. Robertson was happy with the way her team battled back and believes the one thing they need to do is play more calmly down the stretch when they meet Troy again in the Freeway League tournament next week. Natasha Velez and Lindsey Potter led the way for La Habra offensively with four goals apiece. “I felt like we came out so strong, at the end we did get a little tired, but we gave it our best,” Potter said. The Lady Highlanders held the lead nearly the entire first half and went into the break with a 6-5 advantage. After four lead changes in the second half, La Habra scored the final two goals of regulation to send the game into overtime. Garcia’s five saves in the fourth period kept La Habra. Velez, Potter and Garcia all made it clear that they still have complete confidence that they can turn the table next week against Troy when they face off in the Freeway League Finals.
The Freeway League tournament begins on Monday, but start times and pairings will not be announced until Thursday evening.