Playing their first home game in the CIF Southern Section boys' soccer playoffs Thursday, the Laguna Beach High Breakers made sure their postseason opener against Santa Monica Crossroads would be one to remember.
Laguna and Crossroads battled to a 2-2 tie in regulation play, and that score stood through overtime. The Division 5 first-round match was to be decided by shootout and it was the Breakers, who were able to emerge by outscoring the Roadrunners, 4-2, on penalty kicks.
Chris Tellez, Jake Hexberg, Harrison Gregory and Zach Jacobs converted penalty kicks for Laguna in the shootout. It was Jacobs' kick that sealed the win.
Crossroads, the No. 2 team from the Alpha League, missed its first penalty kick attempt, and Breakers' goalie Dante Amodeo came up with a stop on the Roadrunners' fourth attempt.
Amodeo finished with five saves.
The win sends Laguna, the No. 2 team from the Orange Coast League, on to a second-round game on Tuesday. The 10th-ranked Breakers (10-6-4) will play at Valle Vista League champion and seventh-ranked Baldwin Park.
"You could definitely tell this was a playoff game," Laguna Coach Dan Richards said. "It was the first time that any of our players have played a home game in CIF and I'm sure they learned a lot from it. There was a great crowd and the whole program really appreciates the community coming out to support us.
"The result was always going to be the most important thing and getting to the next round is great for the lads."
Laguna took a 1-0 halftime lead, the goal coming off a deflection into the Crossroads cage by a Roadrunners player after a cross by Tellez.
"The boys started brightly and played our best stuff during the first 20 minutes or so," Richards said. "Chris Tellez got in behind and put in a dangerous ball that was deflected into the Crossroads net. Crossroads definitely upped their game and started to ask some real questions of our back line. Rory [Saunders and Jake [Hexberg] were terrific for us in the middle along with Dante [Amodeo] throughout the game."
Mike Santana scored Laguna's second goal at the outset of the final half.
"Mike finished very calmly at the start of the second half after great work by Tellez down the line to give us a two-goal lead," Richards said. "Crossroads then piled on the pressure and showed why they have been ranked this season and made the quarterfinals last season. Their first goal was a little disappointing on our end but there was nothing we could do about the equalizer with six minutes to go.
"The team rallied well to play hard through overtime despite the obvious disappointment of giving the lead up so late in the game. Dante [Amodeo] made a couple of huge saves for us again to take the game to penalty kicks. "It showed real character by all the players from both teams to step up and take a penalty kick. All of our boys converted and looked very composed doing so. We know Dante is hard to beat from the spot and we always confident he would get us at least one stop."
Breakers win CIF girls' basketball opener
Laguna Beach 66, Archer 59
The host Breakers withstood a standout performance by Los Angeles Archer point guard Maia Barnett to win the CIF Southern Section Division 4A opener Thursday at Dugger Gym.
Laguna Coach Mark Lewis called Barnett "one of the best points guards" his team has seen this year. Archer's leader in scoring, rebounding and assists, she hit seven three-point shots, was 14 of 15 from the free-throw line, and poured in a game-high 41 points.
Lewis and the Breakers made adjustments at halftime to overcome a five-point deficit. The Breakers' balanced offensive attack was able to overcome Barnett and allowed them to open up a double-digit lead late in the fourth quarter.
Sophomore guard Jackie Cenan kept the Breakers in the game in the first half by scoring 18 of her team high 36 points. After the half, Cenan continued on her torrid scoring pace matching her first half output. Senior center Jane Wallin came alive in the second half scoring 13 of her 21 points and dominated inside.
Archer, the third-place team from the Liberty League, finished the year 11-15.
The win marks the first time in seven seasons that Laguna girls' basketball program has won a CIF Southern Section playoff game. It also ties the program single-season record for wins (19).
The victory advances the Breakers (19-8), the Orange Coast League's No. 2 team and tournament's No. 13 seed, to the Sweet 16 Saturday, when they will play host to No. 4-seeded Montebello Cantwell-Sacred Heart at 7 p.m. at Dugger Gym.
Cantwell-Sacred Heart (17-10), which tied for second place in the Camino Real League, was a 67-23 first-round winner Thursday over Lancaster Desert Christian.
Breakers beat Whittier Christian in CIF boys' hoops action
Host Laguna used a big third quarter to wipe out a five-point halftime deficit and went on to eliminate the Heralds, 67-55, in a second-round Division 4AA game at Dugger Gym.
The Orange Coast League champion Breakers, the tournament's No. 6-seed, trailed, 26-21, at the half but outscored 11th-seeded Whittier Christian (17-10, Olympic League No. 3), 27-13, in the third quarter to take a 48-39 lead into the final eight minutes.
Senior guard Alec Wulff was one of three Breakers in double figures with a game-high 26 points. Senior guard Noah Blanton scored 12 points and senior guard Bryan Ludloff 10 points. Senior forward Josh Adams had nine points and senior guard Matt Jones added eight points.
Laguna will take a 23-5 record into Tuesday's 7 p.m. quarterfinal round game at No. 3-seed San Luis Obispo Mission Prep.
Breakers blank Chaffey in CIF girls' soccer opener
Orange Coast League champions rode scores from freshmen Autumn Geil and Regan Caraher to defeat visiting Chaffey (Mt. Baldy League No. 2) in a first-round CIF Southern Section Division 4 game at Guyer Field.
The Breakers, ranked 10th in the division, ran its unbeaten streak to nine games and improved to 13-5-4 overall. They advance to a second-round game next Wednesday where they will face either Serrano (Mojave River League champion) or Canyon Springs (Inland Valley League No. 4).