Breakers hang tough

LAGUNA BEACH — The penalty kick was well-struck, headed for the right side of the net.

Calvary Chapel High goalie Kenny Leonhardt, it turned out, had other ideas. He dove to his left to stop Ian Greene’s penalty kick, preserving what at the time was a scoreless tie late in the first half.

It wouldn’t stay that way for much longer.

The visiting Eagles scored twice in the second half to take Monday’s Orange Coast League game, 2-0, and drop the Breakers to 0-2 in league.


“I think it would have been a lot different had I made that PK,” said Greene, one of three senior captains for Laguna, along with sweeper Matt Anderson and Henry Ward. “We would have had more momentum going in [to halftime] but it was just going Calvary’s way. They were at the right places at the right times.”

The Breakers have played well early in the league season, but at times Monday they just broke down at inopportune times. One of those was early in the second half, when Calvary’s Jordan Straubel got a rebound goal. Midway through the half, luck again went the way of the Eagles (10-5, 1-1) when forward J.P. Ballnatyne unleashed a beautiful goal from the right side into the upper-left corner, just out of the reach of diving Laguna goalie Alec Williams.

“They came through with one of the goals of the season, so far,” Laguna junior forward Sam Stinnett said. “That one was pretty much unstoppable.”

Williams largely kept the Breakers in the game with his nine saves, but their scoring chances were rare in the second half. Then again, it has been quite a transition for Laguna Beach (4-10-1, 0-2). Last year, the Breakers had a senior-dominated team and advanced to the second round of the CIF Southern Section Division IV playoffs. Greene said several of those graduates were club teammates of his, as well, on the Laguna Niguel Soccer Club.


Williams is the team’s only returning all-league player; he was second-team all-league last season.

This year, the Breakers would love to advance to the playoffs again, Stinnett said. But competition is fierce. Just the fact that Laguna has been in its first two games might be something the team can build on.

The Breakers lost their Orange Coast League opener to Costa Mesa, 2-1, on Jan. 8, despite a second-half goal from junior Max Cano.

“We’ve definitely been competitive,” Coach Patrick Coyne said. “I’m happy with the boys. They’ve given it their all. It’s very encouraging. We just need a little bit of luck here.”

The Breakers do get an extended break from match play. They don’t play again until Wednesday, when they travel to Estancia in a game scheduled for 4:45 p.m.

“We’re finally getting each other, figuring out how we play,” Stinnett said. “We’re finally uniting as the season’s going. We definitely want to make it to the playoffs. This year it will be more of a challenge, but I’m pretty sure we can do it. I’m confident.”