Girls Water Polo 2011-2012 Schedule
|* denotes league games|
Whittier Daily News Tues. Feb. 27, 2007
Photo Gallery: Ayala vs. Whittier
LONG BEACH - Lauren Barron scored five goals and contributed in other ways to lead Whittier High School to a 13-7 victory over Ayala in the CIF-Southern Section, Division III girls water polo championship game Monday night at Belmont Olympic Pool.
The victorious Cardinals picked the perfect time to play perhaps their best game of the season and dominated the Bulldogs in such a way there was no question which team deserved the title most.
It marked the third time this season Whittier defeated Ayala; each time, the outcome was more decisive.
"They just kept getting better and better each time we played," said Ayala goalkeeper Caitlin Dement, who finished with 10 saves.
This was the teams' third consecutive meeting in the championship game. Whittier won, 11-10, in overtime in 2005; Ayala won, 10-9 last year.
Whittier (24-6) entered Monday's contest as the division's No. 1 seed. Ayala (22-5) was No. 2.
The familiarity between the teams would seem to eliminate any edge one might have over the other, but Whittier's coaches and players later talked of watching films of Ayala's games and forming a game plan based upon the Bulldogs' tendencies.
It was the Cardinals' defense that set the tone from the opening sprint for possession by refusing to allow the Bulldogs to get comfortable in their offense and igniting the Cardinals' potent counter-attack.
"We weren't running our offense," Dement said. "They just came out hard and took charge. Most of the first half, we really didn't set [the offense] up. We were more like spectators."
Whittier coach Chris Schneider said his team focused on one thought over the past three weeks.
"We talked about defense and winning because of our defense," Schneider said.
And the players proved it.
"We knew most of [their players] from club teams and we watched hours of film on them," Barron said. "We set up and called out their man [to guard] and when they set up we kind of molded in with them and cut off their passing."
Alyssa Rangel said, "We all knew basically what to do. We should have, getting up to watch film at 6 a.m."
Whittier opened the scoring on Mary Ann Campos' rebound shot off Barron's miss just over two minutes into the game.
Ayala countered with Erin Herold's first of her five goals with 3:38 left in the quarter.
Whittier then scored three goals in the next 1:13 for a 4-1 lead, and Campos scored off an assist from Barron to make it 5-1 at the end of the quarter.
Whittier increased its lead to 7-2 with goals from Barron and Gigi Naranjo. Ayala closed the gap with two quick goals to start the third quarter, but it was not enough.
Naranjo finished with three goals, and Campos and Rangel had two each. Goalkeeper Brooke Sovick finished with eight saves, at least three in spectacular fashion.
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