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St. Francis Courtney Batcheller takes a shot at goal against Leland during the Central Coast Section girls water polo division I championship game in San Jose, Calif., on Nov. 19, 2011. St. Francis lost 12-7. Daily News photo by Tony Avelar

St. Francis closed out a 27-2 season by winning its second consecutive Central Coast Section Division I girls water polo championship.

But the highlight of the season came back in October when the Lancers hosted Sacred Heart Prep with West Catholic Athletic League supremacy on the line.

The score was 11-11 when Courtney Batcheller fired in a goal with 30 seconds left to give the Lancers a 12-11 win and the upper hand in the battle for the WCAL title.

"It was senior day, we wanted it so bad,'' said Batcheller, who is the Mercury News player of the year. "Announcements about the game were made at school, people brought signs, teachers were there. It was such an amazing game. People were coming up to me after saying it was the best game they ever went to.''

Both teams would go on to win CCS championships, the Gators winning Division II for the seventh year in a row. Since they don't meet in CCS, bragging rights go to the WCAL winner as the best overall team in the CCS.

Batcheller calls that match her favorite memory.

Described by coach Brendon Reutebuch as "a scoring machine,'' she led St. Francis with 107 goals.

"She's a strong, fast left-hander who shoots extremely hard,'' Reutebuch said. "She has a nose for scoring. We don't even run any plays for her, and she still had twice as many goals as the next highest scorer.''

Batcheller, a four-year starter, has signed to play college water polo at national champion USC.

"I considered a lot of other top schools, but when I visited USC, I knew that's where I wanted to go,'' Batcheller said. "They have a top-ranked business school, which I'll be attending.''

Batcheller will take part in swimming as a freestyler for St. Francis (she has bests of 23.9 in the 50 and 1:53 in the 200) before heading off to play college water polo.

There's no doubt her best is still ahead.

"She's going to develop more strength once she gets to USC,'' Reutebuch said. "They'll make her a beast in the weight room.''

all-mercury news
girls water polo

Caroline Anderson, Gunn, Sr.
Courtney Batcheller, St. Francis, Sr.
Morgan McCracken, Sacred Heart Prep, Sr.
Katherine Moore, St. Francis, (GK) Sr.
Tina Samson, Leland, Sr.
Samantha Strutner, St. Francis, Sr.
Caitlin Stuewe, Sacred Heart Prep, Sr.
See honorable mention list at