Laguna gears up for playoffs

The Laguna Beach girls' water polo team completed another undefeated Orange Coast League run and in the process held tight to its league-champion status Wednesday by rolling to a 21-3 victory over visiting Costa Mesa on the final day of the regular season.

The Breakers put the game away in the first quarter by taking a 10-0 lead.

Eight Breakers scored, led by six goals from Makenzie Fischer. Yoshi Andersen scored four goals, Mackenzie Baldridge and Alia Manetta both scored three and Melena Masson scored twice. Single goals were scored by Lexie Del Toro, Sydney Saxe and Kate Magnusson.

Laguna, ranked third in CIF Southern Section Division 1, was coming off an impressive showing at last week's Irvine Southern California Championships, where the Breakers went 4-1 and finished in third place among 32 teams. They defeated Long Beach Poly (15-1) and Montebello (14-7) on Feb. 2 and Los Alamitos (9-8) on Feb. 2. Their lone setback was a 7-4 loss Saturday to top-ranked Newport Harbor, which went on to win the tournament title.

Laguna rebounded from the Newport loss to beat Foothill, 6-5, in the third-place game Saturday.

Andersen and Masson, both seniors, were named to the all-tournament team.

"I thought that we had a great tournament and played some of our best water polo of the season," Breakers Coach Ethan Damato said. "We finished third overall and beat two top-four teams in the process. Our girls battled and seem to be playing their best at the right time."

Laguna (21-6) figures to draw one of the top Division 1 seeds when the Southern Section playoff pairings are released Sunday.

"It should be a real dog fight with a handful of teams capable of winning the D-1 title," Damato said of the upcoming postseason. "I have never seen any division like this. It is going to take three tough wins just to get to the finals. The quarterfinals are going to be brutal, but I'm exited about it.

"I like our chances and know that we will battle, like will always do. When we play smart and execute, we can beat anyone."


Boys' Soccer

The Breakers evened their Orange Coast League record at 4-4-1 and pulled into a tie for third place with Godinez on Tuesday by blanking the visiting Grizzlies, 1-0, at Guyer Field.

Joe Rousseau scored the game's lone goal as Laguna improved to 8-5-3 overall. Although they got the key win, the Breakers trail Godinez (4-4-1 league, 7-7-3 overall) in goal differential in league play.

"I'm extremely proud of the boys for getting a win against such a talented team," Laguna Coach Daniel Richards said. "We knew this was a must-win game and the team did a great job handling the pressure of the situation and finding a way to get the result.


Rousseau's score came in the second half off a feed from Reece Barton.

The Breakers hosted Saddleback on Wednesday in the regular-season finale for both teams. The score wasn't available at press time.

Twitter: @MikeSciacca

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