LBWPC's 14U girls' squad takes second

The Laguna Beach Water Polo Club's girls' 14-and-under team captured silver in its division at the Southern Pacific Area (SPA) zone tournament in Irvine on Saturday.

It was the second second-place finish in tournament play for the team this season.

The 49th annual tournament is for 14U boys' and girls' teams. The Southern Pacific zone covers all of Orange County and the Inland Empire and is the largest and most competitive of the 12 zones through the country. The tournament had 15 teams in two division for the girls and 26 teams in three divisions for the boys.

The Laguna girls played in the Platinum division, the stronger of the two divisions.

Laguna, which was seeded second in its pool, opened the tournament Saturday against Irvine Kahuna. Laguna routed the tournament's host, 11-1. In its second contest, Laguna downed the Socal Club's "B" team of Tustin by a 10-4 score.

Laguna's final game in pool play was against top-seed Newport Beach. Laguna came away with a 4-3 win in a close, defensive battle.

By winning its pool, Laguna took on Anteater, the second-place team from another pool, in the semifinals The locals came away with a 6-4 victory to move onto the Platinum Division final. In the gold medal game, Laguna went up against one of the country's top teams, the Socal "A" team. Despite a quality performance, Laguna fell, 13-7.

The six-goal margin was the smallest margin of victory for Socal "A' in the tournament.

"I am real pleased at the level of play for this team at this point in the season", Laguna Beach Water Polo Club Administrator Chad Beeler said. "We have a lot of upside and room to develop, as we have girls still relatively new to water polo."

Laguna fielded two, 14U boys teams in this tournament, one in the Platinum division and one in the Silver division. The Laguna "A" team placed seventh and the "B" team was second in their respective divisions.

"This year's 14-and-under boys' team will do very well as the season progresses," Beeler said. "They were competitive in every game and I am confident they will start turning the close losses against the top teams into victories."

The Laguna 12U girls' and boys' teams and coed 10U teams will compete this weekend at the SPA Cup in Irvine.

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