High School Roundup: Breakers battle on road

The Laguna Beach High defense earned its third consecutive shutout in girls' soccer Dec. 19 when the Breakers played host to San Juan Hills in their home opener, but neither team could find the net and the nonleague match ended in a scoreless tie.

Laguna controlled the first 40 minutes at Guyer Field with solid midfield play from Summer Stanaland and Johana Abarca. The Breakers offense had several scoring opportunities in the opening half, as Maddy Christensen, Emma Barker and Paige Vitolo combined for six shots on goal.

In the second half, strong defensive play from juniors Amy Hewlett and Janie Crawford, with support coming from freshmen Regan Caraher and Autumn Geil, helped keep the Stallions off the scoreboard. Keeper Kylie George posted her third consecutive shutout.

Laguna Coach Bill Rolfing called the match a "very good test for us."

The Breakers, 2-3-3 overall, return to the pitch Friday and are in the desert for a two-game, nonleague swing that has become an annual trip for the program. They play Dec. 27 at Xavier Prep, and Dec. 28 at Indio. Both games start at 11 a.m.

Laguna heads to the desert not having lost in its last three matches.

"The Palm Desert trip provides two important matches, plus an overnight [stay] that allows the girls to relax and bond as a team," Rolfing said.

The annual Laguna Beach High girls' soccer alumni match will be held at 11 a.m. Jan. 4 at Guyer Field.

Boys' Soccer

In their final game of the year, the Breakers battled host Garden Grove Santiago to a 2-2 tie in a Dec. 20 nonleague match.

Harrison Gregory and Edward Willett scored for Laguna, which is 2-4-3 overall.

"I was very happy with how the team approached the game," Laguna Coach Dan Richards said. "We knew this was going to be a very tough road game and put us up against a team similar to those we will face in league.

"The boys responded well after going behind and we were able to make the required tactical adjustments to compete in the game."

Gregory scored on a free kick in the first half, which ended with the score tied at 1-1.

"Harrison scored a good free kick with help from good movement by Chris [Tellez] in the box," Richards said. "Eddie's goal was well taken and very much an opportunistic finish.

"There were much better performances by a lot of the players and showed that we are gradually moving in the right direction. Blake Bunce also did an excellent job stepping up in goal to cover for Dante [Amodeo] who was out with an illness. For a freshman to come and play in goal and do so well at a tough venue, was really good to see."

The Breakers play their first game of the New Year Jan. 8, hosting Saddleback Valley Christian in their final nonleague game.

Laguna starts Orange Coast League play Jan. 15 at Saddleback.

"We always knew that playing nine games this early on and so close to each other, was going to stretch the squad, but it has definitely helped a lot of the players understand what is required of them, and [has] improved the team," Richards said.

Girls' Water Polo

The Breakers, idle since edging Mater Dei, 8-7, on Dec. 18, return to play Tuesday. They face San Clemente at 10 a.m. at Capistrano Valley High.

"San Clemente has a very good team this year and should be a fun rivalry for the next couple years," Laguna Coach Ethan Damato said. "They have a bunch of girls who play club with our girls and on my 16-U club team at SET Water Polo Club. We know their girls well and they know us, so it should make for a fun game.

"The girls all love each other but I don't expect them to go easy on one another. I think you'll see them battling tooth and nail in the water and hugging after the game. "

Laguna will compete Jan. 3-4 at the Holiday Cup hosted by Newport Harbor and Corona del Mar.

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