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Keeping a Promise, Agoura Wins Title

Division II girls' water polo final: Chargers avenge loss to Santa Barbara in championship game last year, 5-2.

March 01, 2001|DARIN ESPER | TIMES STAFF WRITER

MALIBU — At the banquet for the Agoura High girls' water polo team two years ago, Coach Jason Rosenthal told the audience the team would win a Southern Section championship.

Rosenthal's prediction came true Wednesday in Raleigh Runnels Memorial Pool at Pepperdine, when the Chargers defeated Santa Barbara, 5-2, in a rematch of last year's Division II championship game.

It was Rosenthal's first Southern Section championship in five years of coaching girls and 10 years of coaching boys.

Santa Barbara (23-8-1) suffered its first post-season loss in three years.

For nearly three quarters, the Chargers (27-4) were on course for a repeat of last year's 7-6 loss to Santa Barbara.

The turning point came with 2:45 left in the third quarter, when Rosey Godlis of Santa Barbara fouled out when she was caught holding Joanna Antonsen in front of the Santa Barbara goal.

Antonsen converted the two-meter penalty shot to give Agoura a 2-1 lead, and even though Lauren Boreta evened the score with a power-play goal 46 seconds later, the damage to Santa Barbara's defense had been done.

"[Godlis' ejection] affected our counter-attack," Santa Barbara Coach Mark Walsh said. "We had girls who should be up front guarding the back."

The Dons finished the quarter without allowing a goal, but Agoura's six All-Southern Section players pumped themselves up for the final period.

Erika Clark and DeDe Perram were rising out of the water screaming as loud as they could while waiting for the opening sprint of the fourth quarter.

"The girls came in at the end of the third period and said they were not going to lose to this team for the second time in two years," Rosenthal said.

"When [we] went up, 3-2, they started to feel it and they started to believe it, and when they got that second goal, it was ours."

Said Perram: "We knew that we had to give more than we had already. We knew we couldn't lose this game with how much we had given."

Colleen Schiman connected from outside after a pass from Cameron Pearce with 3:52 remaining to give Agoura a 3-2 lead.

Chelsey Hutchinson, who had six steals, scored from the left side on a cross from Antonsen with 2:49 remaining, and Pearce's lob off of a pass from Antonsen at 1:42 provided the final margin.

Goalkeeper Graziella Caredda of Agoura had one of her eight saves in the final quarter, and Santa Barbara's other three shots were wild.

Rosey Godlis gave the Dons (23-8-1) a 1-0 lead with 5:08 remaining in the first quarter.

Antonsen of Agoura, who had two goals and two assists, evened the score with 3:31 remaining in the first quarter with an outside shot from the right side after the second of four steals by Caredda.

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