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Girls Strike Gold in Santa Barbara

By Erich Fischer, Special to the Independent

 

From left, Aria Fischer, Evan Tingler, Angelique Begay, Thea Walsh, Alana Evans, Evie Cant, Isabelle Riches, Audrey Duffy, Danielle Borelli, Katya Cox-Kruger and Kyla Whitelock.

From left, Aria Fischer, Evan Tingler, Angelique Begay, Thea Walsh, Alana Evans, Evie Cant, Isabelle Riches, Audrey Duffy, Danielle Borelli, Katya Cox-Kruger and Kyla Whitelock.

Laguna Beach’s 14-and-under girls’ water polo team surprised the competition by defeating a heavily favored Santa Barbara squad 5-4 in an intense gold medal game this past weekend.

Despite losing six of seven starters from last season’s squad, the youthful and spirited girls kept pace.  By the half, Laguna held a one point advantage and kept a narrow lead until Santa Barbara tied the game with a goal out of center with 40 seconds left.  Laguna quickly struck back with a goal from the outside after a time out to go up by one and held off a last-second attempt by Santa Barbara to claim the championship.

“Nobody expected this team would make it to the finals of this tournament let alone take out the No. 1 team in the nation to win it!” said Chad Beeler, club director of Laguna Beach Water Polo Club.

Laguna started the tournament with a 13 to 2 win over Santa Barbara Bronze, defeated Foothill in a thrilling 13-12 shootout victory and beat Huntington Beach 15-5.  On the final day of the competition, Laguna earned a resounding 13-4 semifinal victory against Rosebowl and then beat Santa Barbara’s top squad in the championship game.

 

Erich Fischer coaches the 14 and under girls polo team.

 

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