The Huntington Beach High girls' water polo team came from nowhere to place first Saturday at the Rancho Bernardo Invitational in San Diego.
The Oilers went 5-0 to win the title. Coach Brian Anderson said his squad wasn't seeded in the top six at the event but defeated La Costa Canyon (15-3) and West View (15-4) on the opening day of the tournament Dec. 1 and came back Friday to down Sunset League rival Fountain Valley, 13-9.
In the "group-of-three final" Saturday, the Oilers downed Rancho Buena Vista (18-2) and Beckman (10-8) to claim the championship.
Anderson said junior Samantha Preston and senior Ellen Hayami led the way for Huntington. Hayami scored 17 goals in five games, including six against Beckman in the Oilers' final game. Preston had 16 goals and senior Jessica Williams came up with 18 steals in the tournament.
"I was really happy with the defensive effort our girls put in the pool over the entire course of the weekend," Anderson said. "We have not been working on many tactical situations but rather have put a strong emphasis on lane pressing, two-meter defense and an upstart and aggressive counter attack that starts with anticipation. I think when we start putting in some more work into front-court offense, the defense and counter attack will transition nicely into our gameplan."