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Orange Lutheran girls water polo captures title in Bill Barnett Holiday Cup

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NEWPORT BEACH — The start to Brenda Villa’s coaching tenure with the Orange Lutheran girls water polo team didn’t only remain perfect Friday at the Bill Barnett Holiday Cup. It jumped to historical.

Freshman attacker Allison Cohen scored the go-ahead strike on a direct shot with 2:40 left in the fourth period and assisted a goal by sophomore Michelle Urkov about a minute later as the top-seeded Lancers defeated San Marcos 14-12 to claim the tournament for the first time.

Orange Lutheran’s Kira Anderson (7) and San Marcos’ Makenna Stretz...

Orange Lutheran’s Kira Anderson (7) and San Marcos’ Makenna Stretz (8) battle for the ball during the finals of the Bill Barnett Holiday Cup girls water polo tournament at Newport Harbor High in Newport Beach, CA, on Friday, December 30, 2022. (Photo by Jeff Gritchen, Orange County Register/SCNG)

San Marcos’ Ava Stryker (7) takes a shot against Orange...

San Marcos’ Ava Stryker (7) takes a shot against Orange Lutheran’s Kate Sloman (20) during the finals of the Bill Barnett Holiday Cup girls water polo tournament at Newport Harbor High in Newport Beach, CA, on Friday, December 30, 2022. (Photo by Jeff Gritchen, Orange County Register/SCNG)

Orange Lutheran’s Kate Sloman (20) tries to get the ball...

Orange Lutheran’s Kate Sloman (20) tries to get the ball past San Marcos’ Naomi Enright (11) during the finals of the Bill Barnett Holiday Cup girls water polo tournament at Newport Harbor High in Newport Beach, CA, on Friday, December 30, 2022. (Photo by Jeff Gritchen, Orange County Register/SCNG)

Orange Lutheran’s Allison Cohen (3) looks to the goal against...

Orange Lutheran’s Allison Cohen (3) looks to the goal against San Marcos’ during the finals of the Bill Barnett Holiday Cup girls water polo tournament at Newport Harbor High in Newport Beach, CA, on Friday, December 30, 2022. (Photo by Jeff Gritchen, Orange County Register/SCNG)

San Marcos’ Charolette Rasin (5) tries to keep the ball...

San Marcos’ Charolette Rasin (5) tries to keep the ball from Orange Lutheran’s Kira Anderson (7) during the finals of the Bill Barnett Holiday Cup girls water polo tournament at Newport Harbor High in Newport Beach, CA, on Friday, December 30, 2022. (Photo by Jeff Gritchen, Orange County Register/SCNG)

San Marcos’ Madison Haaland-Ford (2) takes a shot against Orange...

San Marcos’ Madison Haaland-Ford (2) takes a shot against Orange Lutheran’s Michelle Urkov (10) during the finals of the Bill Barnett Holiday Cup girls water polo tournament at Newport Harbor High in Newport Beach, CA, on Friday, December 30, 2022. (Photo by Jeff Gritchen, Orange County Register/SCNG)

Orange Lutheran goalie Lauren Steele (1A) stops a shot with...

Orange Lutheran goalie Lauren Steele (1A) stops a shot with her face against San Marcos’ during the finals of the Bill Barnett Holiday Cup girls water polo tournament at Newport Harbor High in Newport Beach, CA, on Friday, December 30, 2022. (Photo by Jeff Gritchen, Orange County Register/SCNG)

Orange Lutheran’s Sara Naulty (5) tries to block shot from...

Orange Lutheran’s Sara Naulty (5) tries to block shot from San Marcos’ Sophia Panossian (3) during the finals of the Bill Barnett Holiday Cup girls water polo tournament at Newport Harbor High in Newport Beach, CA, on Friday, December 30, 2022. (Photo by Jeff Gritchen, Orange County Register/SCNG)

Orange Lutheran’s Kate Sloman (20) and San Marcos’ Lucy Haaland-Ford...

Orange Lutheran’s Kate Sloman (20) and San Marcos’ Lucy Haaland-Ford (12) battle for the ball during the finals of the Bill Barnett Holiday Cup girls water polo tournament at Newport Harbor High in Newport Beach, CA, on Friday, December 30, 2022. (Photo by Jeff Gritchen, Orange County Register/SCNG)

Orange Lutheran’s Michele Urkov (10) goes over San Marcos’ Lucy...

Orange Lutheran’s Michele Urkov (10) goes over San Marcos’ Lucy Haaland-Ford (12) during the finals of the Bill Barnett Holiday Cup girls water polo tournament at Newport Harbor High in Newport Beach, CA, on Friday, December 30, 2022. (Photo by Jeff Gritchen, Orange County Register/SCNG)

San Marcos goalie Elaia Hamilton (1) keeps an eye on...

San Marcos goalie Elaia Hamilton (1) keeps an eye on the ball against Orange Lutheran during the finals of the Bill Barnett Holiday Cup girls water polo tournament at Newport Harbor High in Newport Beach, CA, on Friday, December 30, 2022. (Photo by Jeff Gritchen, Orange County Register/SCNG)

San Marcos goalie Elaia Hamilton (1) tries to block a...

San Marcos goalie Elaia Hamilton (1) tries to block a shot from Orange Lutheran during the finals of the Bill Barnett Holiday Cup girls water polo tournament at Newport Harbor High in Newport Beach, CA, on Friday, December 30, 2022. (Photo by Jeff Gritchen, Orange County Register/SCNG)

Orange Lutheran goalie Lauren Steele (1A) misses a block against...

Orange Lutheran goalie Lauren Steele (1A) misses a block against San Marcos’ during the finals of the Bill Barnett Holiday Cup girls water polo tournament at Newport Harbor High in Newport Beach, CA, on Friday, December 30, 2022. (Photo by Jeff Gritchen, Orange County Register/SCNG)

Orange Lutheran goalie Lauren Steele (1A) blocks a shot from...

Orange Lutheran goalie Lauren Steele (1A) blocks a shot from San Marcos during the finals of the Bill Barnett Holiday Cup girls water polo tournament at Newport Harbor High in Newport Beach, CA, on Friday, December 30, 2022. (Photo by Jeff Gritchen, Orange County Register/SCNG)

Orange Lutheran players, from left, Sofia Umeda, Allison Cohen and...

Orange Lutheran players, from left, Sofia Umeda, Allison Cohen and Sara Naulty helped the Lancers win Bill Barnett Holiday Cup for the first time on Friday at Newport Harbor High. (Photo by Dan Albano, Orange County Register/SCNG)

Orange Lutheran improved to 8-0 under the four-time Olympian Villa but showed little emotional after claiming the top, early-season tournament at Newport Harbor High.

“We want a (title) at the end (of the season),” Villa said of her team’s reaction to the victory. “This is good because we can win in different ways with different players but we want to playing our best at the end. … This is going to give us confidence and continue to keep us motivated.”

The Lancers showed some of their diversity against San Marcos, the No. 3 seed and the third-place finisher from the Villa Park Classic. The Trinity League team went a season-best 7 for 8 with the extra attacker and also pushed its counterattack.

The strike by Urkov, a sophomore, came on the power play with 2:40 left in the fourth period and lifted the Lancers to a 14-12 lead.

Four different players scored on the power play for Orange Lutheran.

Cohen finished with a team-high five goals while Urkov, Sara Naulty, Sofia Umeda and Kate Sloman each finished with two.

The Lancers also received 10 saves and two steals from junior goalie Lauren Steele.

Orange Lutheran needed all the production to sink a San Marcos team that erased a two-goal deficit early in the fourth period to tie the score 12-12 on a skip shot by Sophia Panossian (four goals).

“That’s a good matchup,” San Marcos coach Chuckie Roth said of the Lancers. “That’s a good challenge for us. We got some stuff to work on and that’s OK.”

San Marcos seemed to match Orange Lutheran’s counterattack but generated only three power-play chances. The Royals dethroned Laguna Beach — the tournament’s eight-time defending champion – in the semifinals with a 13-12 win.

Royals goalie Elaia Hamilton also made 10 saves, including a penalty.

In the third-place match:

Los Alamitos 10, Laguna Beach 8: Sophomore Cici DeLuca scored two of her four goals in the fourth period as the Griffins rallied to defeat the Breakers for the first time since 2013 at the Irvine Southern California Championships.

DeLuca scored the go-ahead strike from center and added an power-play goal off an assist by Colleen Sorenson to give Los Alamitos an 8-6 lead with 3:20 left. Isabel Valaika scored on a counterattack to make it 9-6.

Los Alamitos goalie Joey Niz blocked a penalty shot in the fourth period and finished with 10 saves.

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