Two losses in a span of three matches Saturday couldn't put a damper on a solid overall performance for the Johansen High girls water polo team at the Western States Championships.
The Vikings, who carried a 23-1 record into the day, beat defending Sac-Joaquin Section champion St. Francis of Sacramento in a 6-5 nail-biter before falling to eventual tournament champion Monte Vista of Danville, then dropping an 8-5 decision to Davis of Yolo County in the game for third place in the 64-team tourney.
Monte Vista beat Campolindo for the tourney championship.
"I'm happy. Our goal was to make the final four and we were able to do that," Johansen coach and tourney organizer Brent Bohlender said. "With us not subbing, the girls were tired and their legs were shot at the end of the day. But they did well.
"They showed they can play with some of the best teams in the state and played very respectable."
In the day's first match, Johansen fell behind St. Francis early, but the Vikings battled their way back to even the score and came away with the victory when Gabi Mantellato scored to break a 5-5 tie with just five seconds remaining.
"That was a nice win," Bohlender said. "St. Francis was last year's section champion. You don't know how good you are or aren't until you play somebody, so to beat a team like that was great."
In addition to Mantellato's game-winner, Kaysie Lewis had two goals for the Vikings while Taylor Hanson, Hillary Niel and Brooke Fuller had one each.
"I liked the fact that we had five different people score," said Bohlender, "and they scored from different places in the pool."
Monte Vista overpowered Johansen in the Vikings' second match of the day. Hanson, a force in the back row throughout the tournament, provided both goals.
"They were a very good team," Bohlender said of Monte Vista. "We lost, but it showed us some things we can work on to improve."
In the third-place game with Davis, Mantellato scored all five goals for Johansen, but the Vikings, weary from their third match of the day, lost steam and momentum after Mantellato had a shot blocked with the teams tied 4-4 early in the third period.
The Blue Devils quickly regrouped and scored seconds later and never looked back.
"It was one of those matches where momentum was gonna shift," Bohlender said. "Things were going our way, then they got that stop on Gabi and ended up scoring at the other end, and I think it kind of took the wind out of our sails a little bit."
Monte Vista claimed its third consecutive Western States title with a 6-4 win over Campolindo of Moraga in the championship match.
Among area teams, Oakdale went 3-for-3 on Saturday, defeating Modesto 7-6 and topping Vintage of Napa 6-4 and closing the day with a 6-5 win over Merced.
For complete scores, visit aquanite.com/ms