May 17, 2024

OC Sports Zone: Community First

Woodbridge aims for first CIF championship after dramatic comeback win over Beckman

Woodbridge’s water polo team celebrates after Wednesday’s semifinal victory. (Photo: OC Sports Zone, Tim Burt).

Woodbridge High School’s girls water polo team made history Wednesday and now has a chance to make some more on Saturday.

The No. 2-seeded Warriors defeated Pacific Coast League rival Beckman 8-7 in the semifinals at Beckman to earn a spot in the CIF Division 3 championship match Saturday at 9:30 a.m. vs. Bonita at the William Woollett Aquatics Complex in Irvine.

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Woodbridge, which had never reached the semifinal round, is out to bring home its first CIF title in girls water polo for the school.

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The Warriors (20-4) had to rally from a two-goal deficit against a talented Beckman team, which was also looking to reach the finals for the first time in school history. Woodbridge handled Beckman twice during the regular season winning 15-8 and 18-10, but the Patriots (19-10) put up quite a battle in the third contest.

Woodbridge’s first lead came when Rin Hoshina, who came off the bench, scored a goal with 17 seconds left in the match. Woodbridge then stopped Beckman on its final attempt to tie the match.

“First time ever winning league, first time in the finals or semis or quarters,” said Woodbridge Coach Alexandra Farraro.

“They gave us a great battle. They know us better, they’ve been studying us and they did a great job.”

The Warrior coach said her players kept their composure, “keeping their heads in the game and taking an extra breath when they needed to.”

Lindsay Cheung led Woodbridge with five goals. Beckman was led by Akemi Nakachi and Kyleigh Spurth, who had two goals each.

“It was quite a battle, it was a great game,” said Beckman Coach Dujie Grubisic “This was the third time we played Woodbridge this year. I want to say they scored 18 goals on us (in the second round). This game we prepared defensively. The first half, we kept them at one goal and we were doing a tremendous job. We slowed down at the end a little bit, and a little miscommunication but overall it was a tremendous job.”

Beckman had a 3-1 lead at halftime and a 5-3 edge going into the final quarter.

Woodbridge tied the match 6-6 on a one-player advantage goal by Marin Hickson with 3:12 left. Beckman regained the lead 7-6 when Spurth scored a goal with 3:02 left.

But Woodbridge evened the score again 7-7 on a goal by Cheung with 1:50 left. Then, the Warriors scored another and celebrated their trip to the finals against Bonita (23-5).

Bonita advanced to the title match with a 9-6 victory over Peninsula.

—Tim Burt, OC Sports Zone; timburt@ocsportszone.com