Breakers Hold Off San Clemente 11-8
By Frank Aronoff
Breakers remain undefeated and picked up their fourth victory of the season, overpowering San Clemente last Tuesday, Dec. 22 at the Triton Pool in a non-league match up of playoff division favorites.
The host school is currently ranked No. 4 in SS CIF D-II and No. 7 in the county, but have struggled over the years in their match ups with Laguna (No. 2 in SSCIF D-II, and No. 3 in the county). Last season the Breakers frustrated the Tritons in both their meetings, but San Clemente was viewed to be fielding their strongest team this season while Laguna had lost most of their starting team to graduation.
The Breakers took an early command of this year’s game with Jesse Holechek scoring in the opening minute while Riley Duncan added a score nearly two minutes into the contest off a great pass from Jessica Shusko to make it 2-0. Tritons rallied back in the final 90 seconds of the period scoring on a sweep and off a blocked shot. Early in the second period, Breakers took a 3-2 lead off a shot by Shusko, but neither team could score until San Clemente took advantage of a loose ball and tied the score with 89 seconds left.
A confident Triton team took control early in the third period taking the lead off a sweep shot in the first minute of play. Breakers came right back answering on another Duncan score with the assist from Lexi Ross. San Clemente continued to pressure with Laguna’s keeper, Etianne Manetta, recording some amazing blocks. Ross gave Laguna a 5-4 lead on a skip shot but the Tritons answered right back to knot the score at 5-5
San Clemente seemed to lose focus in the final minutes of the third period, as scores from Holechek, Ross and Yoshi Anderson gave Laguna some breathing room at 9-5.
The fourth period opened with another momentum swing as San Clemente scored quickly on their first two possessions then scored again after a few possession exchanges to pull within one point midway through the period. Breakers took control for good 30 seconds later as Riley Duncan scored on a breakaway for the Breakers to regain control of the tempo. The final goal came in the closing seconds when Duncan added her fourth score of the day.
Riley Duncan led the team with four goals and three steals. Stanford-bound Lexi Ross had a big day with three goals and three key assists. Jessica Shusko (Jr) also played well with three assists and tough defensive play. Etianne Manetta (Jr) continues to dazzle in the cage as she recorded 14 saves for the game.
This past week, Laguna hosted the No. 1 ranked So Cal team, Dos Pueblos, on Tuesday then finished the week at the Newport Holiday tournament. Next week, Laguna’s schedule continues with a trip to the No. 3 division team Montebello on Wednesday in Commerce followed by a match with Rosary on Friday at Servite.