Huntington Beach, CA - Fullerton College's Bryanna Santis, the reigning Southern California Player of the Year, proved every bit deserving of the accolades on Saturday afternoon in the 2019 CCCAA Water Polo State Championships. Santis put her team on her back in the waning seconds of the afternoon's title game, scoring the game winning goal with 52 seconds on the clock, helping the Hornets win their second ever Women's Water Polo State Title with a 7-6 victory over conference rival Riverside City College.
The game started off in a defensive fashion from the jump. Fullerton's Alexandra Lopez would open the game with a goal three and a half minutes into the action, only to see Riverside match it with 17 seconds left in the quarter, thanks to a 6-on-5 earned chance. Santis and Co. wouldn't be denied however, as Santis took a pass from Diana Leivas with six seconds to go and buried it in the back of the net to make it 2-1 after the first eight minutes of action.
In the second, neither team ripped the nets, as the Orange Empire Conference foes went into the half at the same 2-1 stalemate. In the third, it was all Hornets though, as they scored four unanswered to jump out to a 6-1 lead.
In the fourth, everything changed. Riverside finally came alive on offense and scored five goals in the span one minute and fifty seconds. The Tiger run started after Maria Roldan converted on a 6-on-5 opportunity, and the next three came via Isabelle Ritter who ran the fast-break on the Hornets on each of her scores. Four the game tying fifth, Ritter found Jesenia Wilson for a strike that made it 6-6 with 4:51 to play in the game.
After the brief offensive spurt by Riverside, the two teams once again locked in on defense with each team trading offensive possessions that came up short. That changed on Fullerton's second to last possession when with the shot clock winding down Santis took a pass from Abigail Nunez inside the 2-Meter spot. Santis then backhanded a beautiful goal past RCC goalie Madison Button for the game winning score.
For Riverside, Button had a strong game in the cage, recording seven saves. Ritter had a game high three goals, while Hannah Peercy had a pair of assists. Santis matched the game high with three scores for the Hornets. Lopez accounted for two scores, while Nunez had two assists.