Tuesday marked Senior Day for two local Santa Barbara squads, Dos Pueblos High and Santa Barbara High.
For DP, it was a normal celebration of all of its seniors who have contributed some great times at the Elings Aquatic Center, but for the Dons, it was a bit different.
Normally, Santa Barbara would be celebrating its final game at SBHS, but a broken water heater has left its home pool out of commission.
It wasn’t a problem with anyone on either side, however, in fact, the joint-celebration was welcomed with open arms.
“It’s great, it’s great. In the sport of water polo, I feel there’s too much of an arms race about not sharing pool space and I’m a big proponent of the image that USA water polo has as an organization,” DP coach Bryan Snyder said.
“More sharing, more cohesiveness, more group sharing so things like this are great to get the community together and we’re able to do this. The parents are all friends, the girls are all friends so this is a really special moment for all of them.”
After the festivities, however, all the friends turned into competitors in the pool and it was quite an intense match between the two crosstown rivals.
Santa Barbara jumped out to an early lead, but a fantastic second-half shutout from DP’s senior Anna Cable and a solid offensive performance from senior Bella Godlis helped the Chargers earn a 5-3 win at home Tuesday, pushing their league record to 2-0.
“It was such a good game, I love games like this,” Godlis said. “I love intense and really good water polo games because we’re both really good teams. We’re both like honorable teams and we’re not dirty and it was just intense and I just loved it.”
Aside from being happy from the win, Godlis said she was also grateful that the two squads were able to celebrate their Senior Day together.
“These are our friends, we love playing each other and it was just a really great experience the entire time. We had our Senior Day together which was awesome and it’s really great to have this experience with my team,” Godlis said.
After the game, Godlis also mentioned how she and most of her senior counterparts were very nervous throughout the day.
She said that in one of her classes, the seniors are all together and how during class time, “we were all getting really nervous.”
“We knew we just had to calm down. We have a tradition where we just hype ourselves up in our office and so we were so nervous but we were really excited,” Godlis said.
Much like anyone who has graduated high school, Godlis is figuring out that those four years go by really fast. She said one thing she has loved every year, however, is the alumni games.
She loves that people from as far back as 10 years ago continue to come and have fun with everyone on the team.
Godlis, however, has a lot to look forward to in a few months.
Next year, Godlis will be attending Brown University, a fantastic Ivy League school.
“I am insanely excited. It’s been my dream for a while and it’s been a really tough road getting here but I really happy to say that, that I made it and it’s just such a relief,” Godlis said.
“I am very academically motivated and I wanted to go to a great school and Brown is great. I visited there last year and I just loved it. It was the perfect place for me,” Godlis said.
Not getting too ahead of herself, however, Godlis also made some key plays Tuesday for the Chargers.
Godlis was the first player to get the scoring started, as the senior powered through a shot within the games first minute to put the Chargers ahead 1-0.
From there, it was Santa Barbara who took over as DP turned the ball over three times in the first frame. The Dons got goals from Elise Power and Ollie Obando to take a 2-1 lead into the second period.
Once there, Santa Barbara’s Juju Martinez do amaral, a key figure in the offense, fired a skip shot that just went under Cable’s arms to put her team in front 3-1.
The Chargers offense was in disarray for much of the second quarter, but finally, a score from senior Sabrina Shackelford kept her team close at the half, trailing 3-2.
Out of the break, Cable took control of the game defensively for DP.
The UC Davis-bound goalkeeper was fantastic Tuesday, tallying 12 saves inclduing three in a row to keep the Chargers within one.
“She’s a phenomenal goalie. She’s kept us in many games this year and saved our butt on a couple of occasions and in close games like this it’s needed from the defense and from her. She’s an amazing talent,” Snyder said.
She held Santa Barbara to zero goals in the second half.
“It felt really good to get the win. It was so intense out there I didn’t even notice and I forgot actually but it feels good,” Cable said.
Finally, with 2:38 remaining in the third quarter, Kelly Meckelborg, with the shot clock expiring, scored from the right-wing to tie the game.
The score would remain tied until the first possession of the fourth quarter for DP, when Godlis put through her second goal of the game to put the Chargers in front.
“It was great to get that goal for my team. It’s all a group effort like Charlie (Winter) passed me the ball inside. It was the perfect pass that allowed me to score and I am just so grateful for my team,” Godlis said.
A final insurance goal with just over two minutes remaining from Charlie Winter would seal the win for the home team.
While Senior Day is smiles for most, Cable was feeling a bit melancholy after the game. She was happy with the win and loves her teammates but is sad that one day very soon this will be over.
“I’ve known these girls since 12 and under. I love them they’re like sisters to me. I’m not really excited, I’m a little sad that this is my last season because, through the past four years of playing with DP, it’s always been a thrill and exciting,” Cable said.
“But even though I am very sad, I am still excited to see what will come in the future.”
Lucky for Cable the season is not over yet. DP will travel to face San Marcos Thursday at 3:15 p.m.
“I’m excited, I mean it’s going to be an interesting game and I don’t know what’s going to happen so we’ll see,” Cable said.