Local squads gearing up for Junior Olympics

The Laguna Beach Water Polo Club girls' 14-Under team tuned up for the upcoming Junior Olympics tournament by playing up and winning the 16U division Sunday at the Hale Summer Championships in Riverside.

The three-day tournament includes teams from throughout the U.S. and Canada. Laguna was one of 22 teams entered in the 16U division.

Laguna opened the tournament July 20 with a 15-4 win against PNW United from Washington state. The team started its Saturday game schedule against British Columbia. Laguna fell behind, 2-0, and still trailed, 4-3, but rallied for a 6-5 victory. Later that day, Laguna cruised past Foothill, 13-5.

Laguna played International from Los Alamitos in a semifinal game Sunday. A 12-4 win put the locals in the division final, where it faced Commerce. Laguna took the early lead and held off a late Commerce charger to earn a 7-5 victory.

The Laguna 14U team, which is coached by Erich Fischer and Scott Baldridge, is: Bella Baldridge, Gabi Beren, Maia Borisoff, Haley Evans, Aria Fischer, Ally Jochim, Sophia Lucas, Holly Parker, Natalie Selin, and Thea Walsh.

The girls' 14U team is one of several Laguna Beach Water Polo Club teams that will compete in the coming week at the 2012 Junior Olympics at Palo Alto. The boys' tournament starts Saturday and ends Tuesday. The girls' and 10-U Coed tournaments run Thursday through Aug. 5.

"The competition is really strong and if we don't bring our 'A' game to each game in the JOs, we will miss our chance to medal," LBWPC Coach Chad Beeler said. "However, our boys and girls have been working very hard and really want to do well. I have never seen some of them want something so bad. So with this kind of attitude, I think a few of our teams will have a great chance of getting medals in more than one age group."

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