The Santa Margarita girls' water polo team routed Corona del Mar in the championship game of the Southern California Invitational on Saturday, but the Eagles had proven five hours earlier who had the best team in the region.
Santa Margarita's 10-4 victory over Corona del Mar gave tournament organizers extra time to engrave the plaques. The third-ranked Eagles showed they were No. 1 with a thrilling victory over Santa Ana Foothill, The Times' top-ranked team, in the semifinals.
"I was wondering how we would come back after playing Foothill," said Eagle Coach Scott Taylor. "They came back and played very hard."
Santa Margarita's Kristina Kunkel, the tournament's most valuable player, scored four goals in the 7-6 victory over Foothill. Erika Figge scored the go-ahead goal for Santa Margarita (21-3) with 2 minutes 8 seconds remaining.
Aimee Stachowski and Kacy Kunkel held U.S. junior national player Gabbie Domanic of Foothill (24-2) scoreless and goalkeeper Kelly Yoder turned away 11 shots.
Stachowski then held Corona del Mar's top scorer, Christina Hewko, without a goal in the championship game, scored two and assisted on two.
Corona del Mar (20-6) reached the final with an 8-7 victory over Lake Forest El Toro, rallying from a 6-3 deficit. Hewko scored five goals.