Local club opens play today at Speedo Cup

The Laguna Beach 14-and-under girls' water polo left Thursday for Ann Arbor, Mich., where it will compete today through Sunday at the 2008 Speedo Cup national tournament.

The three-day event will be held on campus at the University of Michigan.

"We're excited to go," said Chad Beeler, who, along with Ethan Damato and Kayne Schroeder, coaches the squad. "I think we have a pretty good chance to do very well in the tournament."

The Speedo Cup, a tournament limited to 12 girls' and 12 boys' teams from throughout the country, is an elite event held each fall in the Midwest region.

Laguna begins tournament play today against Greenwich and plays La Jolla later in the day. Round robin action continues Saturday and the finals will be Sunday.

Last year, Laguna finished second at the Speedo Cup and won its division title in 2006. Ranked among the nation's top teams in its age division, Laguna placed second in a regional qualifying tournament at Newport Harbor High to earn a berth to this year's Speedo Cup.

The Laguna squad, which raised money for the trip through various fundraising projects, is: Mackenzie Baldridge, Lexi del Toro, Chole Glore, Brigette Kimbrough, Jenna Knott, Kate Magnuson, Alia Manetta, Sandonica Mwangi, Caroline Renezeder and Sydney Saxe.

Teams from Newport Beach, Santa Barbara and Commerce are other Southland club teams expected at the tournament.

"” Mike Sciacca

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