A two-week hiatus from competition did little to slow the Laguna Beach Age Group Water Polo girls’ 14-and-Under team.
Hosting the seventh annual Laguna Beach Tournament last weekend, Laguna cruised to three straight victories to claim the championship.
Eight eighth-grade-and-under teams competed for the title at the Laguna Beach High pool.
Laguna 12, Huntington Beach 0
The locals took exactly 10 seconds to get on the scoreboard, then continued their scoring assault in blanking Huntington.
Melena Masson won the opening sprint, flicked the ball to Jessie Holechek who in turn flipped it to Kelsey Thorton whose power shot hit the back of the net to make it 1-0.
Holechek scored 30 seconds later on a feed from Yoshi Andersen. Jessica Shusko then stripped the ball on the wing and scored after a sprint to the goal. With little more than 2 minutes gone, Laguna held a 3-0 advantage and coaches Chad Beeler and Ethan Damato began to substitute freely
Candyce Schroeder scored twice and Riley Duncan once off a feed from Holechek before the first quarter had ended for a 6-0 lead..
Anderson and Lida De Groote both scored once and Schroeder twice in the third quarter as Laguna extended its lead to 10-0. In the fourth, De Groote posted her second goal and Mason completed the scoring with her first goal.
Solid team defense, led by Hannah Lawson, Bridget Alvarez and keepers Edy Manetta and Susko, enabled Laguna to complete the shutout. Shusko had three saves in the final quarter to preserve the shutout.
Laguna 10, Chino Hills 1
Although the teams had to go into an overtime shootout in theie last meeting to determine the winner, the next matchup between the teams was a mismatch.
Edy Manetta had two key saves early to prevent Chino Hills from taking the lead. Goals by Jessica Shusko and Kelsey Thorton, and a third save by Manetta, allowed Laguna to take a 2-0 lead after one quarter.
After Chino Hills scored to cut the deficit in half, goals by Jessica Holechek, Shusko and a lob shot by Candyce Schroeder, gave Laguna a 5-1 halftime cushion.
Schoerder also drew a pair of kick outs in the opening half that led to goals.
Laguna put the game away in the third quarter. Schroeder scored again, this time off a a pass from Thorton. Manetta then came out of the cage to make a steal and lofted a long pass to Masson whose goal made it 7-1. Masson then set up a score by Lauren Hampton that upped the lead to 8-1.
Fourth-quarter goals by Anderson and Kaitlyn Waidley, made the final 10-1. Hannah Lawson and Nicole Hoes picked up assists in the final frame.
Laguna 7, Los Alamitos 1
Laguna took on a Los Alamitos team that had earned a berth in the title match due to wins over Capistrano Valley and Commerce. The championship game also was a lopsided outcome.
Again, Edy Manetta came up with two big saves early that kept Los Alamitos off the scoreboard. Jessica Shusko drew an early kick out and Jessie Holechek converted from the wing for a 1-0 Laguna lead. Candyce Schroeder and Yoshi Andersen, off a pass from Kelsey Thorton, followed with goals to make it 3-0 after the first quarter.
The lead grew to 6-0 by the half. Schroeder drew a kick out and Holechek scored from the left wing. A Manetta block on a breakaway denied Los Alamitos its first goal and then swift perimeter passing by Holechek and Shusko set up a forceful goal by Thorton. Schroeder drew another kick out and Holechek would score to make it 6-0.
Laguna’s defense never allowed Los Alamitos the chance to rally. After the score was cut to 6-1, Manetta made three saves in the third quarter that squelched any comeback attempt. A goal by Schroeder later in the quarter would turn out to be the final score in the title match.