The sun was setting, temperatures were dropping and Golden West High got hot -- just in time to upset top-seeded Memorial 9-6 in overtime Saturday for the Central Section Division II girls water polo title at Clovis North.
Elizabeth Pace and Shayla Hill scored in the final 41 seconds of the first 3-minute overtime period, and Lindsey Jennings added another in the second session as the third-seeded Trailblazers broke away for their first section girls championship in the sport.
They had to regroup to get it after the fourth goal from Memorial's Nia Apodaca -- a 5-meter shot high into the cage -- tied it, 6-6, with 24 seconds left in regulation.
"I was a little concerned at that point, but I just knew we were going to do it," said Hill, a four-year varsity player, who delivered three goals in addition to oppressive defense. "We really, really wanted this."
Golden West (21-8), which defeated No. 6 Edison 11-4 and No. 2 Yosemite 10-7 to get here, had Paige Ainley hit the post and Hill misfire on a 5-meter penalty shot in the first OT before snapping the 6-6 tie on Pace's 3-meter angle lob.
"That brought us down a little," Memorial coach Kristi Rose said.
Then, with 10 seconds remaining in the first OT, the Trailblazers took command, 8-6, on Hill's breakaway gimmie inside the right post for her third goal.
"Then that definitely brought us down," said Rose, whose Panthers arrived 27-8, including a 3-1 early-season win over Golden West at the Clovis West Tournament.
The Trailblazers concentrated on defense in the final OT period before accelerating the celebration on Jennings' third goal with 1:55 to go.
"The girls came into the overtime freaking out a little bit," Golden West coach Marissa Smith said. "But they calmed down and played their game. [Pace's] goal gave us a lot of confidence, then we got a couple extra for safe-keeping and played defense the rest of the time."