Taking its first step in defense of its 2010 title, the Laguna Beach boys’ water polo team started postseason play Wednesday by destroying visiting Temple City, 21-2, in first-round action of the CIF Southern Section Division 3 playoffs.
Riley Thomas scored six goals and Nolan McConnell posted five goals and six assists to lead the Breaker attack. Samer Alkateb scored three goals and had three steals, Tommy Renner two goals and three assists, Nick Brunner two goals and two assists, Caleb Scott two goals and a steal, Trevor Collins a goal and an assist and Camron Hauer scored once. Aki Andersen also had an assist and Erik Henrikson finished with 12 saves, two assists and two steals.
“I was really happy with the way the boys came out for the game,” Laguna Coach Ethan Damato said. “I could see in their warm-ups that they were ready and excited to pay. They were sharp and focused. I was happy with the way they went out and executed in the first half. They looked good in all facets.”
The victory moves the top-seeded Breakers, winners of the Orange Coast League, into a second-round date Saturday against seventh-ranked Mira Costa (Bay League No. 2), which on Wednesday eliminated El Segundo, 10-7. Game time is 12:30 p.m. at Mira Costa, Damato said.
Laguna defeated Mira Costa, 18-7, in a regular-season game at the Laguna pool on Sept. 20.
“I think it will be a different game, being in their pool, and all,” Damato said. “I think they (Mira Costa) have improved since we played them in late-September and we will have to be well-prepared for this game if we want to make it back to the semifinals.”
Laguna closed out its regular-season schedule Nov. 4 against Agoura, the top-ranked team in Division 4. The visiting Chargers edged the Breakers, 10-9, at the Costa Mesa High pool. Hauer scored four goals, McConnell scored three and had four assists and Henrikson had 11 saves for Laguna.
The Breakers, the No. 3-seed in the Division 1-A playoffs, started postseason play Tuesday with a 25-16, 25-14, 25-18 sweep of visiting Glendora. Alyse Wallace-Ford and Marina Paul had 16 and 15 kills, respectively, and Caroline Holte had 10 kills. Avery Bush had a team-high six digs and Allison Palmer 27 assists.
The Orange Coast League champion Breakers, now 22-6, hosted Foothill League runner-up Valencia of Valencia in a second-round match Thursday. The score wasn’t available at press time.
Division 1-A quarterfinal contests will be played Saturday and semifinal matches Tuesday.
The Breakers entered postseason play on a high note. Last week, they knocked off host Edison, the then-No. 2 team in Division 1-AA, 22-25, 25-23, 27-25, 25-17, for their second win over the Chargers this year.
Coach Don Davis’ Breakers dominated regular-season Orange Coast League play and followed with a dominating run at the league’s individual tournament held Nov. 2-3. The Breakers had Lauren Michaels (singles) and the team of Brooke Michaels and Kira Hamilton crowned league champions.
Five of the top eight seeds in the tournament hailed from Laguna. Two four-year varsity players and teammates, Lauren Michaels and Claire Jaeger, met in the singles final. Michaels was able to come away with a 6-2, 6-2 victory.
The doubles finale also was an all-Laguna showdown, with sophomore Brooke Michaels and freshman Kira Hamilton defeating juniors Chloe Monsour/Katelyn Bo, 6-1, 6-2.
The Orange Coast League champion Breakers started the CIF Southern Section Division 1 playoffs Thursday against Northwood (Pacific Coast League No. 3). Results weren’t available at press time. The winner of Thursday’s contest advances to a second-round match at 2 p.m. Saturday against the winner of Peninsula (Bay League No. 1) and Capistrano Valley (South Coast League at-large).