Flintridge Prep Suffers 2nd Straight CIF Finals Loss

Photo by Oscar Areliz / OUTLOOK
The Flintridge Prep varsity girls’ water polo team fell to Huntington Beach Marina, 6-4, in the CIF Southern Section Division 6 championship match last Saturday. The squad includes Elise Desjarlais (front row, from left), Lauren Bennett, Natalie Kaplanyan, Paige Nixon, Makena Walklett and Lu Patterson. Middle: Mona Patterson, Emily Battaglia, Kerianne Bourdu, Gracie McKiernen, Veronica Habashy, Liana Morrissey, Alexandra Thein, Isabel Simons and Sienna Arrobio. Back: Headmaster Peter Bachmann, assistant coach Edin Memisevic, head coach Andrew Phillips and Athletic Director Sean Beattie.

The Flintridge Prep varsity girls’ water polo team edged No. 4-seeded Marina of Huntington Beach in the majority of statistics but struggled to get the ball into the back of the net last Saturday, as the Rebels fell to the Vikings, 6-4, in the CIF Southern Section Division 6 championship game at the William Woollett Jr. Aquatics Center in Irvine.
Prep (18-12 overall record) was denied a CIF-SS title for a second consecutive season. The Rebels were defeated by Anaheim Katella, 5-4, in last year’s Division 7 championship contest.
“One team executed, one team didn’t,” said Flintridge Prep head coach Andrew Phillips. “Statistically, I thought we had a better game. We had more ejections, we had more 6-on-5 opportunities, we had more shot opportunities, we had more blocks, and we had more steals. It is what it is. They executed, we didn’t. Hats off to them. They had a terrific season and it showed. … We just didn’t show up.”
Flintridge Prep trailed Marina 5-4 in the first half but was held scoreless in the final two quarters. The Rebels had 14 shots but could not get one past goalkeeper Emma Marsh, who recorded nine of her 13 saves in the second half.
“We definitely knew, even though we kept missing and missing and she kept blocking them, that she’s a really talented goalie,” said Prep junior Natalie Kaplanyan, who led her team with two goals. “We had to keep [shooting]. We couldn’t give up. We had to keep trying because one of those could go in our favor.”
Marina head coach Tamara Towgood was well aware of Prep’s potential on offense led by Elise Desjarlais and Kaplanyan and worked on her team’s defense throughout the week.
“I have been tracking them all CIF,” she said. “They have two great shooters who have scored a ton in CIF. We have been working defense the past two days, especially, to be ready for them, be aware and be conscious and helping. So defense was our main goal today. We knew if we played great defense we would win.”
Prep’s defense was just as strong with Lauren Bennett in the cage. She kept her team in the match and allowed only one goal in the final two quarters and recorded 13 saves.
“She’s been solid all year,” Phillips said. “She had a good cap to her career. She did amazing and kept us together and was actually a positive force for us going into the final quarter.”
Phillips was disappointed in the result but credited his team for its historic run.
“Two years in a row, but hats off to my girls,” he said. “They have worked extremely hard. For a campus full of 500 people, we get to CIF finals against a team that has [2,500] on their campus. …They’ve committed the entire year. It’s crushing, especially two years in a row.”
Isabel Simons and Paige Nixon also scored for Flintridge Prep, which defeated Woodland Hills Louisville, Anaheim Western, Laguna Hills and Alhambra Mark Keppel in the playoffs.
“It honestly feels amazing being here twice in a row,” Kaplanyan said. “I’m really proud of my team and really grateful that I got the opportunity to play. I’m sad we didn’t get to have the game go in our favor the past two years.”

Leave a Reply