Girls Water Polo (19-2, 3-0)
Breakers battled to extend their in-season tournament win streak to 27, but could not overcome some tough officiating and the play by Dos Pueblos last Saturday, Feb. 4 in the finals of the 23rd annual Southern California Championships at Irvine’s Woollett Center. Breakers held a slim 5-4 lead early in the third period when the squad was called for four consecutive exclusions on the same possession, including keeper Thea Walsh. That gave the Chargers an unusual 6 on 3 advantage with no opponent goal keeper, a rare, if ever, occurrence in the sport that remains unexplained. The Breakers battled back to take a 6-5 lead with 35 seconds left in the period as Evan Tingler scored on a pass from Alana Evans in a power play opportunity. The Breaker lead didn’t last. The Chargers got a mismatch opportunity for two-meter player Abbi Hill that tied the game just seconds later.
In the fourth period the official continued to inflict the Breakers with calls as both Isabel Riches and Alex Peros fouled out and Dos Pueblos converted on the power plays to ice the contest with an 8-6 victory.
Laguna scorers were Alana Evans (2), Alex Peros (2), Evan Tingler and Molly Renner. Walsh had nine saves. Laguna was issued 12 exclusions while seven were issued to the Chargers. Laguna defeated the Chargers 7-5 earlier this season at a neutral site in a well-called match.
Earlier that day the Breakers faced Mater Dei for the third time this season and kept the pressure on the Monarchs throughout the contest beginning when Isabel Riches scored on a power play early for Laguna’s initial lead.
Mater Dei tied the contest midway in the period on a soft toss shot that just cleared the reaching arms of Thea Walsh, but seconds later Sophia Lucas took a pass from Alana Evans and the Breakers were back in front for good. Laguna scored again later in the period to make it 3-1 as Evans drew an exclusion call for a power play then fed Alex Peros for a goal-scoring shot.
Mater Dei could not connect on a score until the closing seconds of the third period, but it was already 7-1 and over. Sophia Lucas led the scoring with three goals, Riches had two scores, with single goals by Alex Peros, Evan Tingler, Claire Kelly and Nicole Struss. Walsh had 13 saves in the cage.
Breakers started the tournament on Thursday at Foothill defeating Cabrillo/Lompoc 20-1 before struggling early with Coronado on their way to a 10-2 win over the Islanders. On Friday the Breakers defeated Foothill 7-6 in a contest played at Foothill’s pool. The game was tied 3-3 into the third period but Laguna scored on consecutive possessions to open the game up as Evan Tingler scored on a five meter play at 6:26 followed by Nicole Struss scoring off a pass by Tingler less than a minute later. Laguna was in full sub mode when the Knights added two very late goals.
In league play, the Breakers took care of second-ranked Costa Mesa on Wednesday, Jan. 31, with a 22-4 win at the Laguna pool with 16 players including Thea Walsh scoring in the lopsided contest that marked the 47th consecutive league win. The regular season closes this past week with a league game at Saddleback on Wednesday, Feb. 7, and a contest with San Marcos on Friday, Feb. 9, at Dos Pueblos in Goleta.
Laguna’s JV squad (21-5) also competed in the So Cal Championships as the only non-varsity entry finishing 17th. The younger Breakers lost to # SSCIF 7 San Marcos 10-8 in a close tough game played at Corona del Mar High School last Thursday, Feb. 1. The following day they defeated SSCIF D3 #2 Long Beach Wilson 10-7 and # 19 La Canada 9-6. On Saturday they defeated # 18 Arroyo Grande 9-4 and D4 # 1 Long Beach Poly 10-5 to complete the tournament and their season. The JV easily defeated all other top non-varsity teams in Southern California this season extending their win streak against non-varsity teams to 46 consecutive victories.
Brackets will be released on Saturday, Feb. 10, at 10 a.m. on the cifss.org site. Laguna’s first game will be on Thursday, Feb. 15. They should advance to semi’s on Feb. 21 and hopefully the finals on Feb. 24. Laguna will also be in the State Regional tournament on March 2-3.