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Laguna Beach’s Nicole Struss, Marina’s Emma Marsh earn CIF Player of the Year honors in girls’ water polo

nicole struss 3.jfif
Laguna Beach’s Nicole Struss, shown defending against Mira Costa on Feb. 7, was named the CIF Southern Section Division 1 Player of the Year.
(Don Leach / Staff Photographer)

Laguna Beach High junior center Nicole Struss was named the CIF Southern Section Division 1 Player of the Year in girls’ water polo, while Marina senior goalkeeper Emma Marsh earned the Division 6 Player of the Year award.

Struss helped the Breakers to their second straight Division 1 championship, and Marsh led the Vikings to their first CIF title since 1998.

Laguna Beach’s Ethan Damato received the Division 1 Coach of the Year honor. Marina’s Tamara Towgood was the Division 6 Coach of the Year.

Struss, the Surf League MVP, was second on Laguna Beach (33-1, 6-0 in league) with 74 goals, adding 28 assists and 25 steals. She helped the Breakers rally past Foothill 7-6 for the Division 1 title, and beat the Bishop’s School of La Jolla 17-8 for the CIF Southern California Regional Division I crown.

Emma Marsh makes 13 saves for the Vikings, who beat the Rebels 6-4 in the CIF Southern Section Division 6 girls’ water polo final. It is the first section title for the Marina program since 1998.

Marsh made a CIF Southern Section single-season record 452 saves for the Vikings (22-12, 2-4 in Wave League), who beat La Cañada Flintridge Prep 6-4 for the Division 6 title. The Vikings, the third-place team from the Wave League, made the CIF Southern California Regional Division III semifinals before losing 3-2 in sudden death to Imperial Beach Mar Vista.

Laguna Beach junior attackers Emma Lineback and Molly Renner also earned All-CIF Division 1 honors, as did Newport Harbor junior center Olivia Giolas and sophomore attackers Taylor Smith and Morgan Netherton.

Lineback, a left-hander, led the Breakers with 80 goals, was second on the team with 59 assists and added 32 steals. Renner finished with 63 goals, 43 assists and 34 steals.

Junior left-hander Emma Lineback comes up big late as the top-seeded Breakers edge the No. 2 Knights 7-6 in the CIF Southern Section Division 1 title match.

Giolas, Smith and Netherton helped the Surf League runner-up Sailors (23-9, 4-2) advance to the Division 1 semifinals for the first time since 2015 before losing 9-7 to Laguna Beach.

Corona del Mar High senior goalkeeper Maya Avital, bound for Stanford, was an All-CIF selection in Division 2. The Sea Kings (12-16, 2-4) failed to earn an at-large berth into the Division 2 playoffs.

Edison junior center Sam Worley was an All-CIF selection in Division 4. Worley, who led Edison with 73 goals, guided the Wave League runner-up Chargers (18-14, 4-2) to the CIF semifinals for the first time in program history before falling 8-7 to No. 2-seeded Glendora.

Costa Mesa freshman attacker Kira Anderson and senior center Taiuta Uiagalelei each earned All-CIF honors in Division 5. Anderson, the Orange Coast League MVP, finished with a program single-season record 126 goals for the Mustangs, adding team-best totals of 74 assists and 89 steals. Uiagalelei, bound for Concordia University, had 63 goals, 21 assists and 23 steals.

The top-seeded Mustangs (24-7, 4-0) advanced to their first CIF final in program history before losing 10-6 to No. 2-seeded Whittier California.

The top-seeded Mustangs, making their first CIF Southern Section championship appearance, lose 10-6 to the No. 2 Condors in the Division 5 final.

Marina freshman attackers Lily Ensley and Taylor Lambert, and sophomore attacker Lana Kardos, also earned All-Division 6 accolades.

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