The Laguna Beach High boys' water polo team passed its first test in Orange Coast League play Wednesday and took its initial step in an attempt to maintain its stranglehold on the league title by routing visiting Saddleback, 25-4.
The Breakers had the game in hand by the end of the first quarter, where they took a 7-0 lead. They extended their advantage to 15-1 by the half. Thirteen Breakers scored, with Riley Thomas leading the way with four goals. Camron Hauer and Caleb Scott both scored three goals and Connor Hauer, Jack Dodson, Nolan Del Toro, Aki Andersen and Rian Atherton each scored twice.
"We looked sharp in our opener," Laguna Coach Ethan Damato said after his team, ranked fifth in CIF Southern Section Division 2, squared its overall record at 6-6.
Laguna last weekend finished play at the prestigious South Coast Tournament. The Breakers went 2-3 and finished in 15th place. They beat Santa Margarita in their opener Sept. 20 to move into the Top 16 bracket. The Breakers lost consecutive games to Los Alamitos (No. 3, Division 1), Santa Barbara (No. 3, Division 2) and El Toro (No. 9, Division ), but finished the tournament with a 7-6 win against University.
"That was really a tough tournament with a lot of really, really good teams in it," Damato said. "We lost some close games. We've played a brutal schedule, but we're right there in so many of our games. We've had a lot of close losses, but I feel good in regards to how we've progressed at this point in the season."
Laguna faces another challenge at 1 p.m. Saturday when it hosts Coronado. The Islanders are the defending CIF San Diego Section Division III champion.
The Breakers return to league action Wednesday hosting Sage Hill at 3:15 p.m., and host Dana Hills in a 4 p.m. nonleague match Thursday.
The Breakers' boys' and girls' varsity runners did not compete at the Dana Hills Invitational on Saturday.
Boys' Coach Scott Wittkop said he "rested" his varsity runners for Saturday's Stanford Invitational at Palo Alto. The boys' frsoh/soph team ran the Dana Hills Invitational, and won its division.
Girls' Coach Steve Lalim said the junior varsity runners turned in some "good performances" at Dana Hills, led by Natalie Kimball finishing in 20 minutes, 39 seconds..
The Laguna girls also will compete Saturday at the Stanford Invitational.
The Breakers went to 2-0 in Orange Coast League play Sept. 20 by winning 108 of 129 games to blank host Estancia, 18-0.
Laguna hosted Beckman in a nonleague match Monday and defeated the Patriots, 11-7.The Breakers dominated doubles action, winning seven of nine sets. Senior co-captains Dominique Willette and Chloe Mansour won both their sets (6-1, 6-1), as did the teams of Katelyn Bo and Stephanie Tat (7-6, 6-3), and Sarah Nederlander and Madeline Loomis (6-2, 6-4). Subbing in at line 3 doubles, Natasha Keces and Olivia Morrison won their set, 6-2.
In singles play, No. 1 Kira Hamilton and No. 2 Bailey Jaeger won two of three sets. Hamilton won by scores of 6-2, 6-2, and Jaeger by 6-3, 6-1 scores.
The Breakers have two league matches next week. They travel for a 3 p.m. match Tuesday at Costa Mesa and host Saddleback at 3 p.m. Thursday.
The Breakers won their league opener, 25-4, 25-12, 25-9, over visiting Saddleback on Tuesday. Alyse Ford had 16 kills and six digs, Francie Holte had 11 digs, Aspan Rocha had six digs, Amanda Kimball five kills and five digs, Alex Murphy three kills and five digs, and Sevana Drovak had 24 assists.
The victory was the 61st straight in league for Laguna, the top-ranked team in CIF-SS Division 1-A.
The Breakers were coming off a ninth-place tie in the Gold Division last weekend at the Dave Mohs Memorial Tournament. They swept Upland and Beckman and lost in two sets to Harvard-Westlake (No. 3, Division 1-A) in pool play at Newport Harbor High. They lost a first-round Gold Division match in three sets to Tesoro (No. 8, Division 1-AA).
The Breakers (6-4) have three matches over a three-day period on tap next week, starting with a 4:30 p.m. home league match Tuesday against Calvary Chapel. They hit the road Wednesday for a 5:30 p.m. nonleague match at Mira Costa and resume league play at 4:30 p.m. Thursday hosting Godinez.
Laguna, with just five players available for the match, picked up its first win of the season Wednesday by edging Calvary Chapel, 245-246, at Mile Square Park Golf Course (par 34) in Fountain Valley.
Sophomore Mary Kate Quellmalz shot a 40 to pace the Laguna contingent. Jackie McMahon shot 45, Audrey Curtis a 48, Jamie Hendrickson, 52, and Hailey Quigley had a score of 60.
"As each group finished, the girls were excited to learn which team was in the lead," Laguna assistant coach Sean Quigley said. "They were really emotionally invested in trying to get their first win of the season. In addition, as a coach, it was really satisfying to see that all the girls showed great determination, working hard on every hole throughout the match. Coaches really love teams that don't quit and this team had that today."
In a league-opening match Monday at Mesa Linda Golf Course (par 35) in Costa Mesa, defending league champion Estancia defeated Laguna, 255-277.
The Breakers take on Costa Mesa in a league four-way at 2:30 p.m. Wednesday at Mesa Linda Golf Course.