By STEVE GALLUZZO | Sports Editor
All head coach Kirk Lazaruk and the Palisades High girls water polo team wanted in the CIF Southern California Division III regional playoffs was another crack at Birmingham—the team it lost to by one goal the previous week in the City Section finals.
To get a chance at revenge, however, the Dolphins had to take care of Santa Fe Christian in the first round Friday afternoon at Segerstrom High in Santa Ana and they did it in style, winning 18-6 for their first-ever victory in the state playoffs.
The next morning Palisades was back in the same pool for a semifinal tussle with top-seeded Birmingham and the game took on a similar pattern to the City final, in which there were nine ties and seven lead changes before the Patriots prevailed, 17-16.
The rematch was more of the same as fourth-seeded Palisades led 9-7 entering the fourth quarter before the Patriots staged a comeback to take a one-goal lead. Sophie Levy made a big save to give the Dolphins one last try to level the score with 16 seconds left but Birmingham stole the ball with the clock ticking down and held on to win a thriller, 11-10.
“I was hungry, I was pumped… I ate all my veggies for this,” said Pali High senior Leighanne Estabrook, who scored four goals. “I’d lose the CIF game a thousand times to do it over again and win [at regionals]. They like to cherry pick so we tried taking that away.”
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