Athletics News

Eagle Rock HS Girls Claim Third Straight CIF-LA City Section Championship

Feb. 28, 2014

From the LA Daily News - By Erik Boal

First came the coronation, then came the prom proposal on the pool deck from Diego Recinos-Walsh to Adrian Sanchez, followed by her acceptance in front of a captive audience.

For the Eagle Rock girls water polo team, three was the magic number in more ways than one Thursday night at Contreras Learning Complex.

Sanchez and her teammates were again queens of the pool, adding to their legacy with a third consecutive City Section championship following a 14-7 victory over Palisades.

“(The proposal) was icing on the cake, but it was also a little bit embarrassing,” Sanchez said. “To have (my freshman sister Alena) in there with us and to go the whole way and to win it one more time was a special experience.”

Eagle Rock’s 50th consecutive victory against City opponents didn’t come without a few anxious moments, most notably with 6:41 remaining in the second quarter when junior Lindsey Garcia was whistled for her second exclusion.

Mardell Ramirez, the leading scorer for the second-seeded Dolphins (14-4), converted a 6-on-5 goal to pull Palisades within one, and Garcia was one exclusion away from being disqualified for the remainder of the contest.

“I knew I had to be careful the rest of the game. It was an early two exclusions,” Garcia said. “I was like ‘OK, I have to be careful, keep two hands up and don’t go for anything that could be a problem.’ I was just kind of playing relaxed and careful defense and it worked out, I didn’t get majored.”

Garcia finished with seven goals, two coming on 5-meter penalty shots, to complete the postseason with 37 goals in four matches. She concluded her junior campaign with 134 goals, just shy of her City record set last season.

Elizabeth Gonzalez, who helped Recinos-Walsh plan the elaborate prom proposal, added three goals and three steals for the Eagles (23-2), who became the first area girls water polo team — regardless of section — to win three consecutive titles.

“It was my last game and I wanted to make it special. I wanted to give it all I’ve got. It was just amazing,” Gonzalez said. “(The fourth quarter) was indescribable. It was tons of fun. We knew we had it, we just had to keep up our defense and that was it. That was the key to winning the game.”

Alena Sanchez and Jahmea Bent, both freshmen, were instrumental in Eagle Rock replacing graduated starters Nicole Hogue, Jeanette Peralta and Stephanie Velasco, who contributed to the first two titles. Sanchez scored twice, including a 6-on-5 goal with 4:54 remaining in the third quarter to increase the lead to 9-3, and Bent recorded 11 saves.

Palisades closed the deficit to 4-3 early in the second quarter, before Eagle Rock responded with five unanswered goals and held the Dolphins scoreless for more than seven minutes.

“We’re always trying to help each other out when we need it and that’s why I’m proud of our whole team,” Bent said. “I just kept telling myself to be stronger and be positive and you’ll do better.”

Palisades twice pulled to within three goals in the second half, but Eagle Rock closed it out with a four-goal run, including scores by Samantha Martinez and Elisa Carillo.

“When I was a freshman, I was like ‘Oh my gosh, we won, that’s so crazy.’ And I was hoping that maybe my senior year we could win again, so I could have like the senior, awesome, last goodbye,” Garcia said. “(Winning) three, it’s insane. It’s really amazing.”




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