As expected, Laguna Beach High School’s Breakers, the county’s top girls water polo team, gave Southern California’s top squad all they could handle in Wednesday’s CIF Division 1 semi-final post-season match in Irvine. In the end, Santa Barbara’s Dos Pueblos (30-0, 66 consecutive wins) survived on a sudden-death score in their third shot of three overtime periods to pull out the win .
Dos Pueblos Coach complemented the Breakers on the toughest match for the Chargers this season, but it was small consolation for the Breakers who played their hearts out for the 35-minute plus contest.
Laguna had two key opportunities to win in the second three-minute overtime period. After Jessie Holechek scored on an outside seven-meter shot at the 2:20 mark, Breakers seemed in control of the game tempo into the final minute. Laguna was then charged with an exclusion foul on what appeared to be a normal possession call to give the Chargers a player-advantaged power play. Coach Ethan Damato was livid at the whistle that allowed Dos Pueblos to knot the contest at 13 with 43 seconds remaining.
Breakers had a final possession with about 22 seconds remaining following a final timeout. Breakers worked their way for a final shot but Melina Masson’s lob hit the cage. Riley Duncan appeared to get possession for a final shout but was swamped by Charger players in front of the goal.
Breakers dominated nearly all of the first three seven-minute periods of regulation play. Laguna enjoyed leads of 3-0, 4-2, 6-4, and 7-5 with the Chargers tying the score only once at 4-4. In the third period, Breakers led until the final 30 seconds when Dos Pueblos tied the contest at 9.
The Chargers took one goal leads in the final period but twice Laguna responded with outside seven-meter goals by Yoshi Anderson and then by Melena Masson to send the contest into overtime.
Laguna (22-8) loses five talented seniors in Etianne Manetta, Riley Duncan, Jessica Shusko (Santa Clara), Lida de Groote, and Jessie Holechek (Princeton), but will return two key players in Yoshi Anderson and Melina Masson along with a number of talented underclassmen.