High School Roundup: Laguna boys soccer earn first wins

Having played to a pair of tie scores and dropping a one-goal game in the first week of its season, the Laguna Beach High boys' soccer team entered the week looking for its initial victory. The Breakers had their chance to get that first win when they opened a three-game home stretch Monday against Northwood.

Not only did the Breakers get win No. 1 that day, they also came back two days later at Guyer Field to down Trabuco Hills Wednesday for their second victory.

Laguna defeated the Timberwolves and Mustangs by identical, 2-1 scores in nonleague games. Junior forward Willy Wheeler and junior midfielder Harrison Gregory scored single goals in both victories.

Laguna and Trabuco Hills were deadlocked, 1-1, at the half.

"This was an excellent result in a very competitive game," Laguna Coach Dan Richards said. "Trabuco had some talented players and were a very well-organized group, who played some good stuff.

"The goals we scored were very well taken and showed the extra bit of class we have in the final third which will be needed throughout the season. Our defense took another step toward how we need them to play and being organizationally stronger."

Sophomore Dante Amodeo registered eight saves including getting three consecutive stops on penalty-kick attempts late in the opening half by the Mustangs.

"The whole incident revolving around Trabuco's penalty kicks was very bizarre, not only for the initial decision, but then to have it saved and then another being awarded straight afterward, which was also saved, only to have that be re-taken, was amazing," Richards said. "Dante [Amodeo] made two quality saves from the first two spot kicks, and even got a hand to the third one.

"How the lads responded in the second half and kept their composure after the disappointment of the penalty incident right at the end of the first half, was good to see."

In a nonleague game Monday, the Breakers came back from a 1-0 halftime deficit to defeat visiting Northwood, 2-1.

"This was a much better team performance tonight, and the boys got a well-deserved victory," Richards said. "Our opening week was difficult and this was a good way to bounce back.

"In our first few games we never really showed the type of soccer we know we can play, and will need to play, to be successful this year. We did a much better job of controlling the midfield and getting numbers up in the attack. Our shape at the back was far better and it was simply a more complete and well-rounded performance."

The Breakers (2-1-2) play host to their fourth-consecutive home match Friday, when Tesoro comes to Guyer Field for a 6:30 p.m. nonleague game.

Nest week, the Breakers play at 6 p.m. Monday at Dana Hills, at 5 p.m. Wednesday at Aliso Niguel, and at 3 p.m. Dec. 20 at Santiago.

Girls' Soccer

The Breakers took on two top-rated teams, Brea Olinda and Placentia Valencia, on opening day of the Ocean View Winter Classic Saturday, and dropped tight, 1-0 matches to both the Wildcats and Tigers.

In its tourney opener, Laguna played Division 1 Brea tough to the end but ended up falling in a one-goal defeat. Trailing late, a shot by junior forward Paige Vitolo went off the frame, and the Wildcats were able to hold on for the victory.

The Breakers (1-2) also had several close, scoring opportunities against Valencia, as sophomore midfielder Summer Stanaland and sophomore forward Katelyn Carballo combined on several first-half attempts on goal.

The Breakers face two more tough opponents when they complete play Saturday at the Ocean View Winter Classic. They first faced second-ranked La Mirada (Division 4) at 11:30 a.m., before taking on Cypress at 3:30 p.m. Both games are at La Mirada High.

Next week, Laguna travels for a 5 p.m. Tuesday nonleague match at Irvine, and hosts San Juan Hills in nonleague play at 6:15 p.m. Thursday.

Girls' Water Polo

The Breakers, the top-ranked team in CIF-Southern Section Division 1, took on two ranked opponents in their last two outings, and won both nonleague contests.

Tuesday at the Laguna pool, the Breakers took care of Edison, the ninth-ranked team in Division 1, 16-6. They led, 5-2, after one quarter, and took an 8-3 lead into the half.

Freshman utility Aria Fischer led the scoring with five goals and also had a pair of assists and three steals. Freshman attacker Bella Baldridge scored three goals to go with a team-high five assists with two steals, and sophomore attacker Natalie Selin had three goals and a steal.

Sophomore goalie Holly Parker had four saves.

"Edison was our toughest game yet," Laguna Coach Ethan Damato said. "They definitely pushed and challenged us. I think there is a lot to learn from [Tuesday's] game, both good and bad.

"The girls did a nice job of speeding up the flow of the game and playing at a higher tempo. Natalie [Selin)] did a great job on the counter for us and both Aria [Fischer] Bella [Baldridge] had big offensive games. Overall, it was a great team win and we beat a good Edison team. "

Laguna hosted Corona Santiago (CIF Southern Section Division 2) Dec. 5 and comfortably defeated the Sharks, 22-7. The Breakers, who improved to 3-0 and have won all three games by double-digit margins, turned an 8-1 first-quarter lead, into a 14-2 halftime advantage.

Fisher finished with a game-best six goals with two assists and four steals. Selin scored four times and had two assists and two steals, junior attackers Brighid Burnes (one assist, two steals) and Daniela Lucidi (one assist) both scored three goals, and Baldridge (four assists, one steal), sophomore attacker Haley Evans (two assists, three steals) and senior utility Cara Borkovec (two steals), each scored twice.

Parker (five) and senior goalie Jenna Knott (four) combined for nine saves.

"I thought we looked much sharper in our second game against Santiago," said Damato, whose team had defeated Dana Hills, 22-9, in its season opener Dec. 3. "We played well together on both ends forcing a lot of turnovers and sharing the ball on the fast break. I think we had 17 assists on 22 goals, [and] that's really good."

The Breakers play only one game next week and play host to Mater Dei at 3:30 p.m. Wednesday. The Monarchs are ranked No. 2 in Division 2.

Following Wednesday's game, Laguna is idle until it plays San Clemente New Year's Eve day.

CIF Weekly Rankings

Girls' Water Polo: Laguna Beach (No. 1, Division 1).

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