By Steve Ramirez, SGVN
La Serna 10, Bonita 9
CLAREMONT – La Serna High School felt just making the CIF-Southern Section girls water polo Final Four was accomplishment enough.
That was then, and this is now. And this time, the Lancers were hoping to reach a little higher, and because of the senior Gabby Pierandozzi, they grabbed their goal.
Pierandozzi scored four goals, all in the fourth quarter and Jacqui Verdugo blocked a shot with 15 seconds left and the Lancers advanced to the championship round with a 10-9 victory over top-seed Bonita Wednesday in a Division 4 semifinal at Pomona College.
La Serna, also getting two goals each from Isabella Villa and Jenel Rivera, improved to 21-10 and will face Troy, which defeated Los Altos, 7-6, in the finals at William Woollett Aquatic Center in Irvine. The time will be determined Thursday.
Bonita, which received six goals from Natalie Rivas and 10 saves from goalie Millie Moro, finished 23-8. The Bearcats had a chance to tie, but Angela Gomez’ shot with 13 seconds was blocked by Verdugo and La Serna ran out the clock.
La Serna coach Erin Brown: “Once we wrapped up league, our most important goal was to get to the CIF finals. We were really concentrating on getting to that final game. It’s the most important thing this year.”
La Serna’s Gabby Pierandozzi: “I was just stepping up because we had a lot of girls in foul trouble. It was like, ‘just do what you got to do.’ I’m just really proud.”
Bonita’s Natalie Rivas (on final shot): “They were trying to double team me. I couldn’t do anything, so I let my teammates try.”
Troy 7, Los Altos 6
COMMERCE – Los Altos High School was so close to advancing to its second CIF-Southern Section girls water polo championship game since 2010 it could taste it.
But the outcome of games are not determined by halftime.
The Conquerors learned that the hard way Wednesday.
Grace Shade scored on a loft shot with two minutes remaining and goalie Jessica Harris had 19 saves, including a key stop in the final 20 seconds, as Troy rallied from a four-goal deficit to score a 7-6 victory over Los Altos in a Division 4 semifinal at the Brenda Villa Aquatic Center.
The Warriors, getting two goals from Allison Lany, improved to 24-8 and advanced to face La Serna, a 10-9 winner over Bonita, in Saturday’s championship game. The time will be determined today.
Stephanie Contreras scored two goals for the Conquerors, who finished 22-9.
Los Altos coach Chris Coleman: “They took the momentum right out of us. We stopped playing. We played like we were trying to protect a lead rather than get a win.”