After nine holes of golf, it came down to a single stroke.
That didn’t turn out to be in favor of the Laguna Beach High boys’ golf team Tuesday at Mesa Verde Country Club.
Host Estancia beat the Breakers by a single stroke, 201-202, to take first place in the Orange Coast League. For Laguna, junior Mike Cannon led the way with a three-over 39.
The two teams are widely considered the best in the league, which makes the rematch on April 22 even more crucial.
“It’s a tough break,” Laguna Coach Scott Finn said. “Going into it, I would think a 202 would win. We’re now hoping to beat them at our place and then have a playoff at league finals.”
Finn said he is happy with the progress of the team, which shot a season-low round of 190 against Costa Mesa earlier this month.
“But as a coach, I’m expecting with the talent and caliber of guys we have that we have to go a little lower,” he said.
Laguna Beach, ranked No. 5 in CIF Southern Section Division IV, is back at full strength, and sports a 2-5 record after overwhelming Godinez, 18-0, in its league opener Tuesday.
Jake Michaels and substitute Aaron Fong combined to sweep at No. 1 singles. Chris Livery and sub Val Baccarat did the same at No. 2 singles, as did returnee Benito Romeo at No. 3.
In doubles, the teams of Rex Miller and Mike Rubel, Hutton McKenna and Christian O’Connor and Alex Grommet and Hunter Moscow combined for the sweep.
It was a nice league opener for Coach Aaron Talarico’s squad, which had lost a tough match to Newport Harbor on March 20. Laguna tied 9-9 in sets, but lost in games, 84-74.
The Breakers pulled off a big win on the road Wednesday night, topping San Clemente in five games, 25-22, 27-29, 24-26, 25-21, 15-10.
Cooper Gwaltney had 17 kills, and Scott Chapel and Travis Woloson added 16 each. Robbie McKnight had 36 assists, Harrison Phelps had 14 digs and Chris Bailey was big with seven blocks.
Laguna also crushed Godinez in its league opener on Tuesday, 25-8, 25-3, 25-6.
San Clemente is ranked No. 6 in the CIF Southern Section Division I poll, while Laguna is No. 1 in Division II.
Over the weekend, the team finished tied for 11th at the Orange County Championships. Laguna topped Woodbridge in its first pool play match but then fell to Orange Lutheran and Huntington Beach.
The Breakers then outlasted Los Alamitos, 26-24, 20-25, 15-11, in a ninth-place quarterfinal before falling in a ninth-place semifinal to Dana Hills, 25-22, 28-26.
Woloson led Laguna with 38 kills over the tournament. The Breakers (13-5) have not won the Orange County Championships since 1989.
“Obviously, by the results, we weren’t consistent enough,” said Coach Lance Stewart, whose team played at Calvary Chapel on Thursday and is now off until April 2. “We played some great volleyball but couldn’t do it consistently enough. But we’re headed in the right direction.”
TRACK AND FIELD
Both the Breakers boys’ and girls’ teams made sure their Orange Coast League opener was a successful one. The boys topped Godinez, 79-48, on March 19, while the girls were victorious by a 90-27 score.
On the boys’ side, winners included Sean Pigden in the 400 meters (54.28 seconds), Casey Finnerty in the 800 (2:03.56) and Horacio Acosta in the 1,600 with a time of 4 minutes, 55.84 seconds. Blake Hoffmeister won the 3,200 in 10:42 and Brett Linkletter won the long jump in 19-5. Billy Darnell (6 feet in the long jump) and Chris Hilleman in the shot put (38-1) were also winners.
Senior Holden Penney won three events for the Breakers: the 100 meters (13.13), the 200 in 26.11 and the long jump (15-11). Kativa Strickland took the 800 in 2:36.32, as did Natasha Strickland in the 1600 in 5:48.32.
Lauren Hampton took both the 110 and 300 hurdles (20.01 and 56.90, respectively). Parker Yamasaki won the 3,200 in 13:56.9, Lauren Thomas took the high jump (4-8) and Sam Gardner won the shot put (28-6).
Laguna then went to the San Clemente Invitational over the weekend. The girls’ 4x1,600 relay team placed fifth, and other top 10 finishes included Penney eighth in the 100 and first in the long jump. Linkletter finished second in the boys’ triple jump and seventh in the long jump.
The Breakers had a successful trip to the Lake Elsinore meet Saturday, with the girls placing third out of 15 schools and the boys taking seventh.
For the girls, USC-bound senior Chelsea Wild set CIF automatic times in the 200 free (1:55.53), 500 free (5:09.92), 50 free (25.77) and the 100 free (54.74). Cal-bound senior Taylor Dodson also got an automatic time in the 100 free (56.74), as did the 400 free relay team of Wild, Jessie Holechek, Dodson and Taylor Capobianco (3:51.87). Melena Masson had a pair of consideration times in the 200 and 500 free, as did Yoshi Andersen in the 200 IM.
Billy Wild was fourth in the 200 IM and fifth in the 100 fly for the boys, and the 400 free relay team (Nile Koegel, David Brunner, Robert Chew and Wild) finished fifth in 3:39.27. Coach Kari Johnson also praised Alex Shusko for his season-best time in the 100 free.
The Breakers now prepare for their Orange Coast League opener, a tri-meet against Calvary Chapel and Godinez on Wednesday.