San Marcos High used the emotion of Senior Day to ward off a spirited challenge from girls water polo rival Dos Pueblos High on Thursday.
Every time the Chargers were about to get even, the Royals got mad, pulling away for a 10-8 victory at San Marcos.
“Chuckie said it as soon as we went into the huddle: ‘You guys play a lot better ticked,’” Hannah Meyer said, referring to coach Chuckie Roth.
Meyer, one of 10 San Marcos seniors, started the day by weeping through the entire pregame ceremony and then ended it with the clinching goal.
“I’ve known these girls ever since I started water polo,” she said. “It’s pretty emotional to think, ‘Oh my God, I’m not going to be with these goofballs next year.’
“They’re my sisters and my family and I love them to death.”
Meyer and fellow seniors Cassidy Miller and Claire Kronen scored two goals apiece for San Marcos (15-4), which is undefeated in the Channel League and ranked No. 4 in Division 1 of the CIF-Southern Section.
Two other seniors, Megan Musick and Ella Prentice, also scored. Others honored were goalkeeper Riley Christian, Angie Drake, Ema Engmyr, Nicole Danielson, and Meghan Downing.
“They’re great kids, and they work really hard, and they deserve what they get,” Roth said. “We have the agility to arise to the occasion and I think we’ve put ourselves into a position to do something.”
Dos Pueblos (7-12), which was coming off its own Senior Day win over Santa Barbara on Tuesday, took a 2-1 lead late in the first period on Kelly Meckelborg’s goal.
San Marcos’ Reagan McEachen scored off Musick’s pass to knot the score just before the end of the period. It triggered a 5-0 run for the Royals.
The Chargers wouldn’t go away, however. Bella Godlis (three goals), Emma Gilbert (two) and Meckelborg (two) took turns rallying their team. Godlis raced down the pool after getting fouled by Miller and converted the fast break to bring DP to within 7-6 with five minutes remaining.
Miller responded on the other end just seconds later by whipping in a fierce shot from the top.
“I was a little upset,” she admitted. “I just thought that I’ve got to get there and use everything I had.
“It’s obviously no fun when the other team gets momentum, but I think we did a good job coming back as a team, being resilient with whatever calls were going the other way. It’s just nice to do it with the people that I’m doing it with.”
Meyer got to do it with her sister to start the fourth period, feeding freshman Kate Meyer at the two-meter position.
“It made me so happy when I passed that to her and she side-shot it as hard as she could,” Meyer said.
DP made one last challenge with Gilbert’s long shot, trimming San Marcos’ lead to 8-7 with 4:24 to go. But Kronen one-touched Miller’s long pass into the goal for a 9-7 lead, and Meyer scored an insurance goal a minute later.
“It’s been a good run, but we’re not done yet,” Meyer said.