Team Sabotage, NYAC Win Titles at 2006 Speedo Top 40 Water Polo Festival

LOS ALAMITOS, California, November 5. DAY 3 of the Women's Speedo Top 40 Festival presented by Mikasa was exciting. It was championship day and all the teams were ready to get after it, but only one could walk away with the title. Team Sabotage won the gold for the Top 40 side of the tournament, while NYAC won the championship in the Open side.

Game 1 on day 3 of the Top 40 paired Team Lotus against Team Sabotage. The young Lotus team battled against the undefeated Sabotage, but fell shy of their first victory of the tournament, losing 10-7. Brittany Hayes scored three goals for Team Sabotage, while teammates Brenda Villa and Elsie Windes pitched in with two of their own. Michelle Stein had three goals for Team Lotus and Lauren Silver added two. Both Emily Feher and Amber Oland played very well for their respective teams in the goal. Team Sabotage moved to the championship game, while Team Lotus would play for third place.

Game 2 of the Top 40, placed Team Dragon against Team Kosmic Khaos. Both teams were 1-1 and fighting for a spot in the championship game against Team Sabotage. Team Dragon jumped out of the gate first with the scoring and led at the end of the first quarter, 2-1. But Kosmic Khaos found its rhythm and went on a 6-2 run and from there, they didn't look back, winning 10-5. Carrie Frost and Jillian Kraus each contributed three goals for Kosmic Khaos. Veteran Ericka Lorenz netted three goals of her own for Team Dragon. Team Kosmic Khaos would face Team Sabotage in a rematch in the championship game, while Team Dragon would play for third place against Team Lotus.

The third place game in the open tournament featured Commerce vs. SOCAL. Both teams are known for very good defensive discipline, matched with an aggressive style of offense. SOCAL's Jessica Kutcher scored the games first goal near the five minute mark. They added another goal near the three minute mark and were looking to run away with the third place trophy. But Commerce roared back, scoring five unanswered goals to take the lead, 5-2. Commerce didn't look back after that and won, 8-6. Mary Ann Campos led all scorers for Commerce with three, while Kutcher posted three goals of her own for SOCAL.

Game 3 was the third place match of Team Lotus vs. Team Dragon. Lotus looked poised to get their first win and do it against a veteran Dragon team. The score was 4-1 in favor of Team Lotus at the end of quarter number one. But, Team Dragon finally turned on the switch and went on a 6-1 run. The scoring would end in that fashion, with Team Lotus losing its fourth consecutive game by a score of 7-5. Heather Petri and Natalie Golda each had three goals for Dragon. Darby Anderson led Team Lotus in scoring with two goals. She found the back of the net twice in the first quarter, but that was it. Despite the loss, Team Lotus's Amber Oland was named the tournament's Best Goalie. Team Dragon finished the 2006 Top 40 with a record of 2-2, while Team Lotus finished 0-4.

Game 4 matched 3-0 Sabotage against 2-1 Team Kosmic Khaos. The teams met earlier in the tournament, with Sabotage as the victors. Goals were being scored back-and-forth. Elsie Windes started it off for Team Sabotage with a goal in the first two minuets. Two positions later, Jillian Kraus answered right back for Khaos, tying the game, 1-1. The scoring went on like this for the entire game. With five minutes left in regulation, Khaos had a chance to tie the game, but a blocked shot by Emily Feher and an exclusion on Carrie Frost, led to a Kami Craig goal with just under four minutes left in the game. Brittany Hayes led Team Sabotage with three goals and was awarded the Top Scorer of the tournament. Hayes' teammate, Brenda Villa notched two goals of her own and was named the tournaments Most Valuable Player. Jillian Kraus kept her team in the game with three goals, but it wasn't enough. Team Sabotage is the 2006 Women's Speedo Top 40 champion.

The Open Championship game featured the only two unbeaten teams in the tournament in NYAC and SET. These two teams are very familiar with each other when in comes to the championship game of the Top 40, because they played against each other for the title a year ago, with NYAC grabbing the trophy. NYAC's Amber Prestegard put the games first points on the board. The very next possession SET stormed down the pool and evened the score at, 1-1 from the arm of Annika Dries. At the end of the first-half of play, NYAC had the lead, 2-1. The third quarter was a draw, but the forth quarter had some fireworks. At 5-4 with a minute remaining, SET had two different chances to even the score at five, but couldn't convert, due in part to NYAC's clutch defense. In the end, NYAC walked away with their second straight open championship title. The open tournament award winners were Amber Prestegard as the Top Scorer, Stephanie Peckham as the Best Goalie and Belinda Brooks as the Most Valuable Player.


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