The Corona del Mar High girls' water polo team.

The Corona del Mar High girls' water polo team. (December 8, 2012)

The times that Santa Barbara couldn't score with the extra player, it was because of field blocks from McCormick, Musselman, Mortimer and finally Morgan.

"Overall, outstanding defensive effort," Bailey said. "Our team's composure on defense was phenomenal."

Sophie Trabucco and Jessica Gaffney led Santa Barbara with three goals each, and Cal recruit Maddie Trabucco made six saves. But Coach Mark Walsh was left to wonder about his team, which has several third-year starters.

"Most of these girls have been starting for two full years, so I thought we'd be a little better than where we're at right now," Walsh said. "But the bottom line is that it doesn't matter how good you are on paper, it matters how well you play in the water. [CdM] did a really good job on their five-man and they field blocked really well. All kudos to them.

" I think everybody that knows anything about water polo would have thought that we win this game pretty easily, and they beat us fairly easily. I give all the credit to Sam and his players."

Walsh said his players perhaps panicked a bit in the third quarter. He took out O'Brien midway through the quarter when she was excluded for the second time.

"But we have to respond to adversity better," Walsh said.

CdM certainly did.

matthew.szabo@latimes.com

Twitter: @mjszabo