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Bray leads the way as Vaqueros rally for 15-12 win in WSC opener

Tori Bray scores one of her season-high four goals on a second-half breakaway. (Photo by Annie Bower / Sevilla Photography)
Tori Bray scores one of her season-high four goals on a second-half breakaway. (Photo by Annie Bower / Sevilla Photography)

Kemi Dijkstra scored three goals in the second period on Wednesday and Tori Bray added three straight in the third as SBCC rallied past Ventura 15-12 in its women's water polo home opener and WSC opener at San Marcos High.

Bray, a freshman from Cabrillo High in Lompoc, finished with a season-high four goals, two assists and a steal. Dijkstra and Halie Johnson added three goals apiece with Johnson tallying the last three Vaquero scores in the final quarter.

The Pirates (2-7, 0-1) jumped out to leads of 4-0 and 7-3 before the Vaqueros came alive on offense. Dijkstra, a freshman center from Breda, Netherlands, scored two goals in 42 seconds and Bray hit the net on a pass from Sarah Parson, cutting the deficit to 7-6.

Ventura led 8-6 at the half. The Vaqueros won the second half 9-4.
 
"We've been trying to have different groups playing with each other, rather than always having the same starters," said Johnson, a sophomore from San Marcos High. "After we fell behind 7-3, we got more consistent on offense and started gaining confidence."

SBCC is seeking its fourth straight WSC title. The Vaqueros are 27-2 in WSC games since starting their program in 2014 and they're a perfect 16-0 at home.

The Vaqueros (8-1, 1-0) took control by scoring four straight to open the third period with Bray notching the last two for a 10-8 lead with 3:34 to go in the eight-minute stanza. Ventura tied it at 10, then Bray scored on an assist from Johnson to ignite a 4-0 scoring run. Johnson tossed in the last two in that run, putting the Vaqueros up 14-10 with 3:20 to play.

"We gave some other kids a chance today and they did some good stuff," said coach Chuckie Roth. "Ventura really stepped up their game and shot the ball well. They ran a line play that generated five early goals and we couldn't figure that out.

"We just had to settle down, play fundamental defense and not try to do flashy things. We were much better in the second half."

Roth praised the play of Johnson, Dijkstra, Parson, Maddie Owens and Lexi Rond. Dijkstra and Lily Riley had three steals each and Riley drew four ejections.

The Vaqueros will play four games this weekend at the Mt. SAC Women's Classic. They'll take on Orange Coast (8-1) at 12:40 p.m. and Mt. SAC at 4:10 p.m. on Friday. On Saturday, they'll play at Fullerton College against Fullerton (5-1) at 8 a.m. and Long Beach at 11:30 a.m.