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Fullerton snaps No. 1 Vaqueros’ 25-game win streak, 10-8

Sarah Parson ignores a shoulder grab to score vs. Cuesta in a 12-6 morning victory. (Photo by Ken Sciallo/Sevilla Photography)
Sarah Parson ignores a shoulder grab to score vs. Cuesta in a 12-6 morning victory. (Photo by Ken Sciallo/Sevilla Photography)

Fullerton went where no women's water polo team had gone for the last 343 days on Saturday, upsetting No. 1-ranked SBCC 10-8 on the opening day of the Cuesta Rabobank Invitational at Dos Pueblos High.

The defending state champion Vaqueros (14-1) went 2-1, beating Cuesta 12-6 in a WSC match, falling to Fullerton 10-8 and then topping Golden West 11-3 at the Elings Aquatic Center. The loss to Fullerton snapped the Vaqueros' school-record win streak at 25 games.

Fullerton also handed Santa Barbara its first home loss ever. The Vaqueros are 21-1 at home in five seasons of competition.

SBCC 12, Cuesta 6: The Vaqueros took an 8-3 halftime lead in the morning game. Alyssa Russell-Sadoff had two goals and three steals and three others scored a pair of goals – Kemi Dijkstra, Meagan Mckillican and Hana Wigzell. The Cougars are 12-2 and 0-1 and the Vaqueros (13-0, 2-0) won their 13th straight game this year and 25th straight over the last two years.

Fullerton 10, SBCC 8: After losing by a goal (12-11) to the Vaqueros eight days ago, the Hornets (10-2) broke through with a stingy defense and efficient offense to end the Vaqueros' 25-game win streak. The Vaqueros committed a season-high 17 turnovers and only had three steals.

Emma Fraser poured in five goals and made two steals for the Vaqueros, who won their last 12 games of last year en route to their first state championship and first 13 games of this year. Their last loss came on Oct. 21, 2017 when Orange Coast beat them 12-7.

Russell-Sadoff had four assists and drew two ejections.

"We had a little trouble on offense today and that cost us," said Fraser, a sophomore from Vanouver, British Columbia who was the MVP of the 2017 state tournament. "We've got a lot of experience on this team and this will be a good wake-up call for us."

Dijkstra threw in a buzzer-beater to tie the score 5-5 at halftime. The Hornets took an 8-7 lead into the final quarter and stretched it to 10-7 on goals by Alexandra Lopez (4:53) and Diana Leivas (3:58).

"Our defense was really poor at the beginning of the game," said SBCC coach Chuckie Roth. "Individually, our ability to communicate was pretty bad. Then the other team got a little more aggressive and I don't think we rose to the occasion.

"Emma Fraser was extremely aggressive and played a really good game but you can't win with one player. It has to be a team effort. We missed a couple of easy shots off the bar and sometimes, that's going to happen."

Roth says the loss will be a learning experience.

"There's some things we really need to work on," Roth stated. "For as hard as we practice and as much as we love what we do, we didn't play the way we're capable of. Our offensive execution needs to be much better. You can't have one or two players doing all the dirty work."

SBCC 11, Golden West 3: Fraser scored five of the first six goals as the Vaqueros built a 6-0 lead midway through the second quarter. Fraser tied her career high with six goals on six shots. Sarah Parson and Lily Riley added two scores each for the Vaqueros, who led 8-2 at intermission. Nicole Poulos made 10 saves, boosting her record to 9-1 this year and 32-4 for her career.
 
The Rabobank Tourney moves to Santa Barbara High on Sunday. The Vaqueros will take on two more top-6 teams in San Joaquin Delta (11:45 a.m.) and Riverside (2:30 p.m.). SBCC has defeated both teams this year, knocking off SJ Delta 10-6 on Sept. 14 and edging Riverside 5-3 on Sept. 15.