Sports Briefs: La Cañada girls power Rose Bowl squad to title

Local youth water polo team wins championship

The Rose Bowl Aquatics girls’ 16-and-under water polo squad, which boasts six current La Cañada High players and head coach Nicki Davidson, captured a Junior Olympic championship on Sunday at William Wollett Jr. Aquatics Center in Irvine.

The squad completed an 8-1 run with an 11-7 victory over Diablo Alliance in the championship game of the tournament. Once again, Rose Bowl goalie Carolyne Stern, an All-Area first-team selection for La Cañada, distinguished herself by being named the tournament most valuable player.

Outside of Stern, La Cañada High was represented by Genevieve Fraipont, Tess Fundter, Maddy Solares, Mimi Zwaneveld and Rayne Lopez.

Rose Bowl’s triumph over Diablo Alliance on Sunday avenged the team’s only setback in the tournament on July 28. Overall, 48 teams took part in the competition.

It is the second Junior Olympics title for the group, which two years earlier took the 14-and-under crown.

La Cañada resident signs in Spain

La Cañada resident and former USC men’s volleyball standout Alex Slaught signed a free-agent contract to play professional volleyball in Spain.

Slaught, who played outside hitter at Loyola High, inked a deal with club team Unicaja, which is based in Almeria, Spain. The squad plays in the highest of Spanish leagues, the Superliga.

“I love the competition and I also love to win,” the 23-year-old Slaught stated in a press release, “so I hope to fight with this team for another title. ... I know that Almeria has been one of the best teams in the Spanish Super League for a long time.”

Slaught played last season with Slovenian Cup Champion ACH Volley Ljubljiana and with MEVZA, which finished runner-up in the Central European competition.

Almeria had a strong 2016 in which it won the Superliga title and the Copa del Rey.

Morikawa rolls into U.S. Amateur Championships

Perhaps a mix of hot play and home cooking will lead La Cañada High alumnus Collin Morikawa toward the college player’s next great goal.

The 20-year-old Morikawa will enter the U.S. Amateur Championships as the top-ranked amateur in the 312-player field at the event held at Los Angeles’ Riviera Country Club and Bel-Air Country Club from Monday through Aug. 20.

A victory would thrust Morikawa into the ranks of other great Californians who have claimed the title, including Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson.

“Collin is among a great group of outstanding youngsters in the field of 312,” Michael R. Yamaki, corporate officer of The Riviera Country Club, stated in a press release. “It’s going to be an incredible week of golf for the players and the fans as the U.S. Amateur champion is crowned.”

This will be Morikawa’s third straight time competing in the tournament.

Previously, Morikawa missed out on match play in 2015 in Illinois before advancing to the round of 16 at Oakland Hills Country Club in Bloomfield Hills, Mich. last year.

Last season as a sophomore, Morikawa was named a Division I PING First-Team All-American and finished with a 69.94 stroke average, second-best in the nation.

Tickets to view Morikawa can be found at www.usga.org/usam. Single-day tickets are set for $20 with $75 set for a weekly pass.

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