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Marina girls’ water polo shuts down Flintridge Prep for CIF Division 6 crown

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Marina coach Tamara Towgood, left, jumps in the pool with her players to celebrate the Vikings’ win in the CIF Southern Section Division 6 girls’ water polo final on Saturday at Woollett Aquatics Center.
(Kevin Chang / Staff Photographer)

None of the Marina High girls’ water polo players were alive the last time that the program won a CIF Southern Section championship.

One person who had been around then was Dave Carlson, who coached the Vikings when they won a section title in 1998.

With Marina competing in its first CIF championship match since, Carlson was once again present, this time on the mic.

Emma Marsh made 13 saves, as the Vikings defeated La Cañada Flintridge Prep 6-4 on Saturday morning in the Division 6 final at the Woollett Aquatics Center.

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When the clock ran out, Carlson announced that Marina improved to 2-0 in CIF finals all-time.

“Our coach [Tamara Towgood] told us that the announcer for this game was the coach who won in 1998, so that was pretty awesome,” Maddison Clobes said. “It’s just crazy because I bet those players didn’t know that they were going to make it that far. We are just so proud to have done this for our school.”

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Marina’s Lana Kardos competes against Flintridge Prep’s Natalie Kaplanyan (8) during the second half in the CIF Southern Section Division 6 championship match at Woollett Aquatics Center in Irvine on Saturday.
(Kevin Chang / Staff Photographer)

Clobes had a goal, two steals and a field block in the match for the Vikings (21-11). Lily Ensley had two goals and an assist. Lana Kardos also scored two goals, and Rebeka Macias had one goal.

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“It feels amazing,” Ensley said of winning the title. “I honestly never thought that I would be here, but I am so glad that I am. This team, we’re the dream team. I couldn’t ask for anyone better to play with, and it’s great.”

Flintridge Prep received two goals and two steals from Natalie Kaplanyan. Isabel Simons added a goal and a steal, and Paige Nixon also had a goal. Lauren Bennett made 14 saves for the Rebels (18-12).

Marina held Flintridge Prep scoreless after taking a 5-4 lead into halftime. Marsh was on edge during the tightly-contested final, but she held the fort for the Vikings.

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Marina goalkeeper Emma Marsh makes a save during the second half against Flintridge Prep in the CIF Southern Section Division 6 championship match at Woollett Aquatics Center in Irvine on Saturday.
(Kevin Chang / Staff Photographer)

“It was really intimidating and nerve-wracking, but once we realized we were up by two [in the fourth quarter], it got a little less scary,” Marsh said. “It was still like nerves the whole time.”

Marsh’s big moment kept the Vikings up 5-4 in the final minute of the third quarter. She made a save at the right post on Elise Desjarlais, and she was able to recover the weak-side rebound.

From an under-the-radar championship in the Westminster Tournament in December to a CIF title, Towgood can now tell her players that their hard work paid off.

“At the start of the year, I demanded a lot of things from them,” Towgood said. “We did a lot of conditioning in the offseason, and I told them that they would thank me later, so here we are later. It was awesome.”

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Towgood said that she had not stopped to enjoy the moment after any of the Vikings’ wins up until the final, but she jumped into the pool with her girls after winning the championship match. So did a couple of fathers.

“One of them was my dad [Greg],” Clobes said. “They had said at our quarterfinal game, I think, that if we won the championship, they would jump in. It’s a little crazy.”

Indeed, it was a celebratory occasion for the Marina community at large.

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Marina’s Maddison Clobes shoots over Flintridge Prep’s Makena Walklett (10) during the second half in the CIF Southern Section Division 6 championship match at Woollett Aquatics Center in Irvine on Saturday.
(Kevin Chang / Staff Photographer)

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