Breakers regain No. 1 seed

Laguna Beach shut out visiting Aliso Niguel in the opening quarter of Wednesday's nonleague boys' water polo match and went on to down the Wolverines, 16-4.

The game pitted two teams — No. 1 Laguna and No. 7 Aliso Niguel — ranked in the CIF Southern Section Division 3 poll.

The Breakers (22-6) led, 3-0, after the first quarter and extended their lead to 9-3 at the half.

Spencer Dodson and Tyler Mancusso both scored four goals to pace a Laguna offense that included three goals from Nolan McConnell, two by Jack Clark and one each from Samer Alkateb, Nicky Brunner and Tommy Renner. McConnell also had a team-high three assists and six steals and Erik Henrickson registered eight saves.

Laguna concluded play last week at the Hank Vallenkamp No. 2 Tournament, hosted by Servite, winning its final three games to claim the championship. The Breakers downed Servite (9-8) in a quarterfinal game Oct. 29 and both Esperanza (15-8) in the semifinals and Damien (9-7) in the final last Saturday.

Laguna started tournament play Oct. 25 with wins against La Salle (19-1) and Montebello (17-11).

Servite is ranked No. 10 in Division 1, Esperanza is fifth in Division 2, Montebello is seventh in Division 2 and La Salle received votes in Division 5.

Laguna also got even with Damien, which on Oct. 22 had scored a 16-15 nonleague victory in its home pool to supplant the Breakers at No. 1 in Division 3.

The win by Laguna on Saturday moved the Breakers back into the division's top spot and dropped Damien to second.

Laguna wraps up its regular season at 4 p.m. today with a nonleague game at Mission Viejo.

"Mission is a tough, young team that should be a good challenge," Laguna Coach Ethan Damato said. "We know their coaches and players well and it should make for a friendly but competitive game.

"At this point, every game, every practice, we are trying to find things that we can do better, areas to improve upon heading into the playoffs. Right now, it's all about playing our best polo for the last three weeks of the season, and that's what we are trying to do every day."

On Sunday, the CIF Division 3 playoff pairings will be revealed. Orange Coast League champion Laguna is line for the division's top seed and will host a first-round game at 3:15 p.m. Wednesday.

"We will be the top seed when the pairings come out on Sunday," Damato said. "That is something that we were proud of all year and something that wanted back after losing to Damien. Our guys fought hard all week to get a chance at Damien and take back the top seed. When we got that opportunity on Saturday in the finals of the Hank Vallenkamp tournament, we took advantage of it."

The Division 3 championship game is scheduled for 5 p.m. Nov. 20 at the William Wollett Aquatic Center in Irvine.

"This year, I think we know what it will take to win," Damato said. "This is a team of guys who believe in each other and believe they can win. We have all the tools."

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Girls' Golf

Laguna Beach senior Christianne Kinder competed Monday at the CIF Southern Individual Regional at El Dorado Park Golf Course (5,855 yards, par 72) in Long Beach.

Kinder, Laguna's team captain, finished with a score of 110 and tied for 91st place, along with Jessica Turner of Mayfair and Barbara Moore of St. Joseph. The top 45 golfers from the tournament advance to Monday's CIF Southern Section Individual finals at La Purisima Golf Course in Lompoc.

Laguna Beach Coach Val Quigley said the El Dorado Park course had been recently punched and sanded which, she said, "made for several three-putts for everyone."

The lone golfer from the Golden West League to make the cut was league champion Ashley Peters of Estancia, who tied for 40th place.

Beverly Vatananugulkit of Cerritos had a 72 to finish first among 120 golfers.

Kinder was competing at CIF Individuals for the first time in her Laguna career.

"Playing in the CIF Regionals with some of the top players in the Southern Section was a real honor for Christianne," Quigley said. "She had a fun day, although she didn't score too well. Her score was 110. The cut was at 86, which was the highest I can remember since I started coaching.

"Overall, it was a great experience for Christianne and the fact that she made it to CIF her senior year was special for her. Christianne has scored well in league finals for the past few years, barely missing the cut for CIF. However this year, her scores were low enough to place her in the top four, qualifying her for regionals. I am glad she finally got the opportunity to participate in CIF Regionals."

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Surfing

Laguna Beach surfed its third event of the season Oct. 28 against Dana Hills at Sal Creek in a contest that had nice but somewhat inconsistent waves and off-shore winds, coaches Scott Finn and Alisa Cairns said.

Adam Redding-Kaufman got things off to a great start for Laguna in the boys' shortboard. Redding-Kaufman caught several nice waves on his backhand to win heat No. 1 that included solid performances from fellow Breakers Austin Silvers and Dane Doran.

Other top performances by the Breakers in the boys' shortboard included Kris Williams who took second in his heat and also went on to win in the longboard division with some long nose rides and goofy footers Adam Mejia and Dane Zarinelli also finished second in their respective heats. Mejia and Zarinelli were able to pick off some inside wide lefts that provided them with plenty of wall to showcase their surfing.

Taylor Pitz looked very strong with a win in the girls' shortboard heat, bashing the lip of a nice left on her backside at the start of the heat before following up with several nice rides. Pitz also took third in her longboard heat.

Travis Sampson helped Laguna's cause by taking fourth in both the shortboard and longboard. Andrew Congleton stepped up and placed third in bodyboard, Derek Strombotne was fourth in his shortboard heat and Redding-Kaufman (first, sixth) and Blair Conklin (fifth, fifth) both competed in shortboard and bodyboard.

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