Post-season Contenders Advance
As expected, Laguna Beach dominated the sixth annual Orange Coast League individual league finals held Nov. 2 and 3 on the local courts. Co-captains Lauren Michaels defeated teammate Claire Jaeger 6-2, 6-2 for the title. Calvary Chapel’s top players finished third and fourth.
In doubles, Brook Michaels and Kira Hamilton took the tile for Laguna defeating teammates Chloe Mansour and Katelyn Bo 6-1, 6-2 for the honors. The team of Sarah Nederlander and Bailey Jaeger finished third.
The team had their tough opening round of the 37th annual girls tennis playoffs yesterday hosting Northwood in the Division I match. Breakers have qualified for the playoffs for the 23rd consecutive year and their 32nd time overall. Breakers have captured 11 section titles.
Breakers (22-6) opened the 40th annual girls Southern Section CIF playoffs with a 25-16, 25-14, 25-18 victory over Glendora on Tuesday at Dugger Gym. The Tartans (14-12) gave Laguna tougher competition than their recent league schedule. Alyse Wallace-Ford led the squad with 16 kills followed by Marina Paul with 15 kills and four aces. Caroline Holte added 10 kills on just 12 attempts. Allison Palmer dished out 27 assists, Rachele Killian nine assists and Avery Bush led on defense with six digs. Breakers faced Valencia (17-8) yesterday in a rematch of their Queens Court encounter last August. Laguna prevailed 25-20, 24-26, 15-8 in that meeting. Quarterfinals are set for Saturday and semifinals next Tuesday. Breakers have advanced to at-least semifinals the past seven seasons and have made it to quarterfinals 35 of the past 39 seasons.
Last week Laguna concluded their regular season with a 22-25, 25-23, 27-25, 25-16 victory over top ranked Edison at the Charger’s gym last Thursday. Edison (24-6) is the county’s top-ranked team and is the top seed in the highest Division I-AA playoffs. Breakers were no match for Edison in the first set. But behind Alyse Wallace-Ford’s precision kills, Laguna cruised through the second set to hold off a last-minute Edison rally for the win. The pivotal third set was a see-saw battle until Laguna extended a 21-20 lead to a 24-20 advantage. Edison rallied to take a 25-24 lead before the Breakers could side out. Wallace-Ford connected on a service ace and senior Caroline Holte sealed the victory with a solo block. Set four started with a 2-0 Charger lead, which was their last gasp. Breakers came back to tie the set at two each and then rolled from there. Overall freshman outside hitter Wallace-Ford led with 32 kills, Marina Paul added 15, Caroline Holte chipped in five. Allison Palmer had 42 assists and three aces, Rachele Killian added 12 assists and 10 digs.
Boys Water Polo
Laguna (19-6) opened their defense of their D-III CIF crown with a match at the local pool this past Wednesday with either Ayala or Temple City, which played the previous day in a wild-card match. Laguna should advance to play familiar foes, either Mira Costa (d. 18-6) or El Segundo (d.19-9) on Saturday, and most likely La Canada on Wednesday in the semifinals at Irvine High School’s Woollett Center. Breakers escaped their regular season encounter with La Canada in a 14-11 double overtime victory on Oct. 11 but were without the services of Nolan McConnell, Laguna’s top player.
Last week Laguna completed their regular season play with a 13-8 win over Aliso Niguel on Nov. 2 at the loser’s pool. McConnell’s six goals were top among all players. On Friday, Laguna suffered a disappointing 10-9 loss to D-IV power Agoura (23-4). Cameron Hauer had four goals, McConnell three in the loss.