The Laguna Beach High boys’ water polo team launches its 2002
season today against the same team it ended the 2001 campaign
Match time is set for 4 p.m. at Laguna Beach.
The teams met in last year’s CIF Southern Section Division II
semifinal round at Newport Harbor where Esperanza emerged with a
thrilling, 12-11 overtime victory.
Being in the spotlight is nothing new for a Laguna Beach’s boys’
water polo program that has reached the playoff semifinal round in
six of the past seven seasons. The Artists -- now Breakers -- have a
string of 10 consecutive postseason appearances in head coach Rick
Scott’s 11 years at the helm, including one trip to the division
This fall, however, Laguna Beach joins Pacific Coast League rival
Corona del Mar in moving up to Division I.
Laguna Beach is perhaps the smallest school in terms of enrollment
among Division I schools; however, with a senior-laden team roster
comprised of 18 varsity players, Scott says that this just may be his
best team yet.
“We have a very well-rounded team and a great group of kids,” he
said. “This is a close group and it plays well together. It will be a
bit different moving up a division against schools that are larger
than ours, but our program is very sound.”
Leading the Breakers into the 2002 season are a trio of returning
all-league performers: senior goalie Hugh Sandys, senior two-meter
man Nich McConnell, and senior driver Bryan Early.
Games against the likes of Esperanza, ranked No. 5 in the CIF-SS
Division II preseason poll, will only toughen Laguna Beach, preseason
No. 9 in Division I, as the Breakers progress in their season toward
Pacific Coast League play, Scott said.
“Our preseason schedule, basically, is getting us prepared for
league,” he said. “Corona del Mar is not only our big rival, but
expected to win league and even CIF. It should be a fun season.”
LAGUNA BEACH’S DECORATED GIRLS’ TENNIS TAKES COURT TUESDAY
No doubt the Laguna Beach girls’ tennis team will be a marked
squad in 2002. That’s not one X you will see on the backside of
Breakers uniforms, but four, in total.
That’s because the program has dominated the CIF Southern Section
Division 5 competition the past four years, winning the division
crown in each of those years.
The Breakers open their season on Tuesday with a 3 p.m. home match
Junior Jackie Reed was a driving force in last season’s title
match and new Breakers head coach Brian Ricker looks for Reed to
continue to dominate in both doubles and singles play, in addition to
providing leadership on what he calls a very “young, talented team.”
Leadership also will come from senior Camerin Barron-Sandman, the
Breakers’ top singles player.
Barron-Sandman is a four-year starting singles player and had a
great summer preparing for the fall season, Ricker said.
The leadership provided by Barron-Sandman and Reed will be needed,
as the Breakers welcome three, highly-ranked freshman to the varsity
Lorren Butterwick, Claire Rietsch and Katie Ochwat each tasted
tremendous success over the summer on the United States Tennis
Association circuit and should, Ricker said, have a big impact on the
squad this year.
“The team should be equal or stronger than last year’s team, due
to the depth this team has,” he said.
Eight girls, he said, are vying for the final four varsity spots.
Among them are returning varsity players Jessica Murray, Alex Murrel,
Britton Simons, Allie Phelps and Corey Miller.
Three junior varsity players seeking a spot on the varsity roster
include Quinn Johnson, Heather Sjule and Kim Ochwat.
Like the school’s boys’ water polo program, the girls’ tennis team
has been moved up to Division I this fall, a big jump of four
Division I is stacked with some of the Southern Section’s top
“The road through the playoffs will be much tougher this year,”
Ricker added. “However, if the girls continue to work hard and focus,
then they should have some success through the year.”
* MIKE SCIACCA covers sports for the Laguna Beach Coastline
Pilot. He can be reached at 494-4321 or by e-mail at