Dos Pueblos’ Ryann Neushul scored on this 1-on-nobody but San Marcos goalie Jenna Phreaner and the Royals had the last laugh in Tuesday’s game.

San Marcos’ girls water polo team scored four times in the fourth quarter on Tuesday to rally past Dos Pueblos 6-5 in a key Channel League game.

The Royals, previously unbeaten in league play, trailed 4-2 in the fourth quarter when Whitney Steidl started out the period with a Dos Pueblos goal. But the Royals scored four out of the game’s last five goals, capped by Kate Coski’s game-winner with 36 seconds on the clock.

The dramatics came with a lot on the line as San Marcos all but assured itself of the first outright league title in head coach Chuckie Roth’s tenure with the Royals. San Marcos and Santa Barbara shared the league title last season.

“I’m a little surprised [that we rallied] but I think I always knew we could do it,” Coski said. “Our team we tend to just really bring it back around the second half. It’s not always the best but it ends well.”

Dos Pueblos’ final possession was snuffed out when Paige Hauschild intercepted a pass intended for Ryann Nueshul at set. “I think we played some really, really good water polo. We just made a couple of errors and it cost us,” said Dos Pueblos head coach Chris Parrish.

Dos Pueblos’ Olivia Kistler gets sandwiched by San Marcos defenders Paige Hauschild and Brittany Prentice.

Hauschild started the rally with her only goal of the game on a quick catch and shoot. Riley Heiduk, the only Royal with multiple goals, tied the game with 4:31 remaining on an outside shot that deflected off a defender’s arm. Dos Pueblos goalie Petra Huebner was in position to make the save until the redirect. Heiduk scored again at 3:58 to put the Royals in the lead 5-4.

“It basically came down to a few girls shooting the ball well,” said Roth, who saw each of his team’s fourth-quarter goals come from outside.

Dos Pueblos’ crowd came alive to encourage the home team. On the Chargers’ next possession, Neushul got Hauschild excluded and then scored off a pass from Toni Shackelford for a 6-on-5 goal. That set up Coski, who scored despite the Chargers playing tight man-to-man defense. Coski found only a little space as the shot clock wound down but a strong shot did the trick.

After a defensive battle in the first half, including a scoreless first quarter, Dos Pueblos led 2-1 at the break.

“It was really frustrating, nerve-wracking, all of us were tense, like, ‘we really have to get going!’,” Coski said about the sluggish start offensively. “Once we got going we got in the mindset.”

Hailey Gellert and Megan Bergthold scored San Marcos’ first two goals.

Neushul collected three scores and four steals. Jordan Williams and Steidl rounded out DP’s scoring column. Huebner finished with nine saves, four steals and one assist.

San Marcos and Dos Pueblos both travel to this weekend’s SoCal Championships in Irvine.

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