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Southern Section Water Polo Final : Sunny Hills Wins 4-A Title, 6-5

November 22, 1986|STEVE LOWERY | Times Staff Writer

A year after it was supposed to happen, courtesy of a player whose varsity time this season spans all of one month, Fullerton Sunny Hills High School defeated Corona del Mar, 6-5, Friday night in the Southern Section 4-A water polo final at the Belmont Plaza Pool in Long Beach.

In last season's final, Sunny Hills entered undefeated and heavily favored to win the championship. But Corona del Mar beat the Lancers, 7-6, in overtime.

Friday's loss snapped Corona del Mar's 41-game winning streak, the longest in Southern Section water polo history.

For Sunny Hills, the victory was especially sweet.

"Losing last year was like getting punched in the face," said Sean McCloskey, Sunny Hills goalie. "It was like getting punched, and then having the guy run away so you couldn't do anything about it. It hurt."

It was McCloskey's block of Bill Harmon's shot with 25 seconds left that clinched the win for the Lancers. McCloskey had nine saves in the game.

Sunny Hills' Jose Santiago, the 30-day star, had scored with 55 seconds remaining to put the Lancers ahead, 6-5. It was his fourth goal of the game.

Santiago and his brother, Javier, have played just the last four weeks with Sunny Hills. Natives of Puerto Rico, they played on the Lancer team that lost in last season's final.

Their family decided they should return home this year. They did, but apparently put up such a fuss, that their parents let them return.

When their eligibility was cleared with the Southern Section, they got back into the pool.

"I had to get back," Jose Santiago said. "I had a mission, to make up for the last time. I accomplished my mission tonight."

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