LA CAÑADA FLINTRIDGE — Following nearly 37 grueling minutes, capped by her match-winning goal in sudden-death overtime, Hannah Walleck could barely celebrate.
The Flintridge Sacred Heart Academy water polo player was exhausted and relieved that the Tologs pulled out a 13-12 Mission League home victory against Alemany on Thursday afternoon. She was practically breathless moments after the match concluded.
"I felt like this game was going to go on forever," said Walleck, who finished with seven goals, including the winner with 10 seconds left in the first sudden-death overtime. "It's so tiring.
"On the winning goal, it wasn't the shot I was looking for. I wanted to shoot the opposite way [of the goalkeeper], but the shot went in."
Flintridge Sacred Heart, which overcame a pair of two-goal deficits in regulation, improved to 2-5, 1-1 in league. Alemany dropped to 2-10, 0-3.
Alemany's Catherine Castro sent the game into overtime with a goal with 15 seconds left in the fourth quarter.
Neither team could muster any offense in the two two-minute overtime sessions before Walleck capped her stellar performance by firing a shot past Alemany goalkeeper Gina Mongello-Lopez and touching off a team celebration. It came a minute after Alemany's Erica Carr's shot struck flush off the left post.
Flintridge Sacred Heart first-year Coach Andrea Artukovich, whose team began league Tuesday with a loss against Louisville at L.A. Pierce College, said her team needed to stay resilient throughout overtime.
"It was crazy out there and we worked hard for the win," Artukovich said. "We just had to continue playing our game and stay with it.
"With Hannah, she knows a lot about the sport. She's able to communicate and help the team out a lot."
Flintridge Sacred Heart goalkeeper Elizabeth Hinckley held the Warriors at bay throughout the extra sessions. Nine of her 18 saves came in overtime.
"Elizabeth played great, especially in the overtime making all of those saves," Walleck said.
After the Warriors took a 5-3 lead with 4:28 remaining in the second quarter, Walleck scored two goals in the final 93 seconds to pull the Tologs even at 5 at halftime. She then scored two goals late in the final two minutes of the third quarter to knot the game at 9. Her second goal in that sequence came on a five-meter shot with 31 seconds left.
Artukovich said the victory can serve as a confidence booster for the Tologs.
"It's huge for us because we are getting stronger every match," said Artukovich, who got three goals from Cheri McGlynn. "This was an exciting match to watch."