By Mike Sciacca
12:51 PM PST, November 7, 2012
The Huntington Beach High field hockey team is no stranger to championship game appearances.
The Oilers have made trips to six consecutive Tournament of Champions finals, the final day of tournament play that annually caps the field hockey season. They won that first tournament championship and were runner-up the past four years.
On Nov. 1 at Westminster High, Huntington got the title back.
The Oilers finished the season No. 1 after surviving Harvard-Westlake, 1-0, in a 10-minute, sudden-death overtime period. Each team dropped four players for the overtime period, and a 7-on-7 matchup determined the winner. Huntington took the crown when Kayla Wigney scored the winning goal off an assist from Abbie Masters four minutes into overtime.
Huntington, champion of the Sunset League, defeated Harvard-Westlake for the second time this year. During regular-season play, the Oilers scored a 2-0 win against the Wolverines.
"It's been a long time coming," said Huntington Coach Cathy Van Doornum. "It's a big senior group on this team, and it was kind of disappointing for them, after losing last year's final. To win the title has been a goal of theirs since last year. They were determined to win it, and the girls weren't to be denied."
Huntington, which started nine seniors, completed a 22-1 season.
"It's a special group," Van Doornum. That senior unit included four players, Wigney, Masters, Marina Elmore, and goalie Brittney Cristini, who have been on the varsity team since their sophomore year.
In semifinal games played Oct. 30, Huntington eliminated Glendora and Harvard-Westlake knocked off Edison. Huntington broke away from a tie game at half, to score a 3-1 win. Allie Knobbe, Masters and Wigney scored for the Oilers.
Wigney was the Tournament of Champions MVP. Elmore, Masters and Amanda Matters, made the all-tournament team.
The Huntington Beach field hockey team: seniors Brittney Cristini, Marina Elmore, Allie Knobbe, Abbie Masters, Nicole Minnicucci, Hannah Rodriguez, Kirsti Stangeland, Kayla Wigney, Kayla Winsatt; juniors Simon Corkett, Kaitlen Cruz, Sabrina Desisto, Faith Hicks, Amanda Matters, Katelyn Mauger, Carly Sutton, Nicola Taglieri; sophomores Samantha Earthman, Emily Martinez, Mckenna Shaver; freshman Makenna Wigney. Head Coach: Cathy Van Doornum. Assistant Coach: Mindi Masters.
Huntington Beach, the No. 2 team from the Sunset League, advanced to the second round of the CIF Southern Section Division 1-AA playoffs after coming back from two sets down, to edge visiting Peninsula, 21-25, 19-25, 25-12, 25-16, 18-16. The win sends the Oilers on to a Thursday game against Trinity League champ Mater Dei. The Monarchs, the No. 4 seed in the division, swept Trabuco Hills in another first-round game Tuesday.
Ocean View, which finished second in the Golden West League, also rallied to a first-round victory Tuesday. The Seahawks eliminated visiting St. Bernard (Camino Real League No. 3), 25-23, 21-25, 24-26, 25-21, 15-12. The Seahawks next play Thursday at Orange League champ Century. The Centurions had a first-round bye.
All division quarterfinals are Saturday and the semifinals are next Tuesday .
Boys' Water Polo
Both Huntington Beach and Edison played CIF Southern Section Division 1 wild-card games Tuesday , and the teams had different results.
Huntington, the No. 3 team from the Sunset League, had its season end in an 11-8 loss at University, the third-place team from the Pacific Coast League. Jovan Jeremic, Dylan Morely, Scott Schultz, Elias Lule, James Vlachonassios and Ryan Sillasen scored for the Oilers who finished 15-14.
Edison, an at-large entry to the playoffs from the Sunset League, went on the road to face Moore League runner-up Long Beach Poly. In a game where neither team led by more than a single goal, and the lead changed hands 10 times, it was a goal on a skip shot with five seconds left by junior Alec Niederland, that lifted the Chargers (15-14) to a 10-9 victory and into a first-round date Wednesday against defending Division 1 and Trinity League champ, top-seed Mater Dei.
The score from the Edison-Mater Dei game wasn't available at press time. The winner advances to the division quarterfinals on Saturday .
Junior goalie Nick Halloran blocked a Poly penalty shot with 3:34 remaining in the fourth quarter that would have given the Jackrabbits (18-14) a two-goal lead. Center Justin Harrison scored consecutive goals to put Edison in front, 9-8, with 80 seconds left to play. Poly tied the score with 28 seconds left on a counter-attack goal after an errant pass, then the Chargers worked down the final seconds before Niederland netted the game-winner.
It was the third goal in the game for Niederland. Harrison led the scoring with four goals. Dane Estrella scored twice and Jacob Schwenk scored once.
"Our coaching staff had numerous conversations about going on the road and playing a team not in Orange County," Edison Coach Diggy Riley said. "Our theme was simple. We were going to encounter referees we don't know, an indoor pool that is so loud you can't hear the coaches or your players, [and] we would be shooting for the first time all season on wall cages, and accept the fact that we would not get any calls our way. So the solution was to not let any of these issues keep us from staying focused and playing our game.
"I was so proud of this team and their ability to not give up and to just find a way to win in the harshest of environments."
Edison finished in fourth place in the Sunset League. The Chargers scored five-straight goals in their league finale Oct. 31 to take a 9-7 lead on rival Fountain Valley, then Halloran stopped a perimeter shot with five seconds left, to preserve a 9-8 win for the Chargers. Halloran finished with eight saves and Niederland and Harrison both scored three goals.
The CIF Southern Section preliminaries are Saturday at Mt. San Antonio College in Walnut. The CIF Southern Section Championships are Nov. 17, also at Mt. SAC, and the CIF State Championships are Nov. 24 at Woodward Park in Fresno.