PALOS VERDES PENINSULA – Despite hitting a rough patch through the early portion of the Prep League season, the Mayfield Senior School girls' water polo team might very well have convinced itself of its own worthiness Wednesday afternoon.
The Cubs played inspired and had two opportunities to force overtime before falling at CIF Southern Section Division VI fifth-ranked Chadwick, 14-13, in league action on the road.
“Honestly, this was the best game we’ve played all year. I know that sounds funny, given that we lost,” Cubs Coach Richard Dybas said,” but I’m proud of the girls. We haven’t played Chadwick this close since I’ve been here and we gave them a game.”
The Cubs nearly handed the Dolphins a loss, or at least nearly forced overtime, when senior Sarah Lamothe scored from seven yards out cross-cage on a goal with 1:42 remaining in the game that brought the Cubs within one at 14-13.
Chadwick (9-3, 3-1) went down pool on its next possession, but was denied on the final of 12 saves from goalie Caley Martinez.
Mayfield’s first attempt at tying the match ended in a turnover as Chadwick junior Christi Lane came up with a steal with 1:01 left in the game.
The Dolphins then wound as much of the clock down as they could before junior Emily Robertson shot wide with 32 seconds remaining, which led to a Cubs’ timeout.
Out of the break, Martinez passed from mid-pool to senior Lauren Joseph, who in turn fed freshman driver Maddie Ireland about six yards from goal. Ireland then forwarded the ball to Lamothe, who was had possession stolen away from behind by sophomore Emily Richardson with nine seconds left.
The Dolphins then called their final timeout and were able to milk the clock’s final nine seconds without incident.
“The last couple of plays we had plans in play. But knowing the players on Chadwick, we had to change,” said Joseph, who finished with two goals and three assists. “We had to be creative at the end and we just missed.”
Mayfield surprised Chadwick by scoring four of the game’s first five goals and led, 4-1, at the 1:33 mark of the first quarter after a score from Lily Muir on an assist from Colleen McAlary.
Yet, the lead quickly evaporated as the Dolphins closed the quarter with three straight goals that highlighted an 8-1 run, which extended into the second quarter and was capped by a steal and goal from senior Jenna Solberg (six goals) with 3:50 left in the second. That helped Chadwick go up, 9-5.
To the Cubs’ credit, they scored three of the last four goals of the quarter, all from senior Amanda Wilson (team-best six goals), in pulling within 11-8 at halftime.
“We just kept on pushing, even when we fell behind,” said Lamothe, who finished with three goals. “We didn’t quit until the end.”