Breakers not fazed by tough schedule

Five games in a five-day period didn't seem to faze the Laguna Beach boys' water polo team during the past week.

The Breakers went 4-1 during that run, which included competing at the inaugural Santa Barbara Tournament before taking on Mira Costa on Tuesday in a key battle between two of the top-rated teams in CIF Southern Section Division 3.

Laguna started its five-game schedule in Santa Barbara on Sept. 16. The Breakers dropped their opening tournament game to Vista, the top-ranked team in the CIF San Diego Section, but came back to win three straight matches. They defeated Sacred Heart Prep of Palo Alto (13-5), Royal (11-5) and Santa Barbara, 9-8, in the ninth-place game.

Mater Dei, the top-ranked team in CIF-SS Division 1, won the tournament.

In a key, Division 3 game Tuesday that pitted Laguna against Mira Costa, the No. 1-ranked Breakers downed the fifth-ranked Mustangs, 18-7. Nolan McConnell netted eight goals with four assists and four steals, Camron Hauer had five goals, two assists and three steals and Riley Thomas three goals, two assists and four steals. Tommy Renner, Nicky Brunner and Samer Alkateb all scored once. Alkateb also had an assist and three steals. Erik Henrikson had 13 saves and also had two steals and one assist.

Laguna, which improved to 5-1, bolted to a 6-0 first-quarter lead and was up, 10-2, by the half.

"We knew going into the Santa Barbara Tournament that we would get four high-level games and that is exactly what we got," Laguna Coach Ethan Damato said. "Although we lost our first game and did not finish as highly as we would have liked, we had a goal of going 3-1 in the tournament and that is what we did. We beat three good teams and came back a better team with a better idea of where we need to improve.

"We played very well on both ends of the pool against Mira Costa. The guys were fired up for a divisional game and came out strong in the first half. Camron Hauer had a great game."

The Breakers are competing Friday and Saturday ) at the South Coast-Newport Harbor Tournament. The tournament, which began Thursday is being played at serval high school pools. The Breakers are the No. 2 seed in their bracket, which is headed by Mater Dei. Also in the bracket is Capistrano Valley, Vista, Northwood, San Clemente, Granite Hills and Buena Park. Games will be played at the Capo Valley pool.

Laguna placed ninth at last year's tournament.

Next week, the Breakers host El Segundo in a 4 p.m. nonleague match Tuesday and play their first Orange Coast League game Wednesday against Sage Hill at Costa Mesa High.



Laguna Beach's boys' and girls' teams returned home earlier this week from a trip to Hawaii, where both competed at the Iolani Invitational.

Coach Scott Wittkop's boys' team finished in second place and Jeff White had an individual finish of second place, as well.

"This was a great experience for the varsity to run against the top teams from another state," Wittkop said. "They performed very well in very humid conditions."

Laguna's girls competed in Hawaii without two of its top runners, Natasha Strickland and Livie Clark, but still managed a fourth-place showing, Coach Steve Lalim said.

"We had a great trip," Lalim said. "We ran without two of our top runners and still ran a very strong race. The girls ran aggressive, they were competitive and they really pushed each other...everything I like to see in a race. It was an experience the kids will never forget."

Both Laguna teams will run Saturday at Dana Hills and both compete Thursday at the Orange Coast League "Cluster" Meet.


Girls' Golf

Coach Scott Finn's squad returned to the links Tuesday to take on rival Estancia at Aliso Viejo Country Club and the Breakers earned an important 244-251 Orange Coast League victory over the Eagles. Assistant coach Sean Quigley called the triumph a "great win for our girls."

"We have a great rivalry with Estancia and historically, each time we play them, our girls show up and post some of our best scores," Quigley said.

The Breakers did just that Tuesday as Jackie McMahon (48), Nicoline Morck (49) and Laura Kawashiri (49) shot their lowest scores of the season. Taking low-score honors for the Breakers was Taylor Weiss, who shot 44. Vivian Mendoza shot 54 and Isabelle Dwight, Laguna's No. 6 player, shot 56.

Medalist honors were taken by Estancia's Cassie Stevenson, who shot 37.

Laguna is scheduled to face Estancia again on Tuesday at Mesa Linda Golf Course in Costa Mesa. The Breakers host Costa Mesa on Wednesday at Aliso Viejo Country Club. Both matches start at 2:30 p.m.


Girls' Tennis

Laguna battled Sage Hill on Sept. 16 in a five-hour match that was decided in the last round, and it was the host Lighting that came away with a 10-8 victory at The Tennis Club in Newport Beach.

Laguna's Lauren Michaels swept, 7-6, 7-5, 6-0, at No. 1 singles and No. 2 Claire Jaeger won two of three, 6-7, 7-6, 6-0. Freshman Kira Hamilton won her final set and posted scores of 0-6, 4-6, 6-0.

The Breakers scored single points at No.1 doubles from Sarah Nederlander and Katelyn Bo (0-6, 1-6, 6-3) and at No. 2 doubles from Brooke Michaels and Bailey Jaeger (1-6, 4-6, 7-6).

Laguna travels to San Clemente for a 3 p.m. nonleague match Monday. The Breakers begin defense of their Orange Coast League title Tuesday when they host Estancia at 3 p.m. They'll play at league foe Calvary Chapel at 3 p.m. Thursday.


Girls' Volleyball

Laguna went to San Diego County on Wednesday to battle Torrey Pines and was swept, 25-12, 25-10, 25-16. The Falcons are a perennial CIF-San Diego Section Division 1 power.

The Breakers went a game up on Newport Harbor on Sept. 15 but the host Sailors rallied for a 20-25, 25-19, 28-26, 25-15 victory. Alyse Wallace-Ford had 16 kills, Marina Paul 14 kills and 11 digs, Caroline Holte 10 kills and Allison Palmer 37 assists and 16 digs.

Newport Harbor is ranked fifth in CIF Division 1-AA. Laguna is third in Division 1-A.

Laguna opens play Friday at the 64-team Dave Mohs Tournament hosted by Edison. The Breakers are the No. 1-seed in Pool 6 and will play matches Friday and Saturday at the Newport Harbor High gym. They face Centennial/Bakersfield at 3:30 p.m. Friday and later that day take on Murrieta Valley. On Saturday morning, the Breakers play Orange Lutheran.

The tournament concludes with championship-round play on Monday.

They Breakers go after another Orange Coast League title Tuesday when they open league play hosting Estancia at 5:30 p.m. They also play a 5:30 p.m. league match Thursday at Calvary Chapel.


CIF Rankings

The Laguna Beach High boys' water polo team comes in at No. 1 again in this week's CIF Southern Section Division 3 boys' water polo poll.

In girls' volleyball, Laguna again is ranked third in Division 1-A. Defending champion Marymount is No. 1 and Corona del Mar is second.

Laguna's boys' cross-country team is ranked sixth in Division 4, down two spots from last week's ranking.

Laguna's football team, 2-0, received votes in the Southern Division poll but just missed cracking the top 10.

Twitter: @MikeSciacca

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