Breakers Escape Foothill in 6-5 Thriller

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Girls Water Polo (10-0)

A year ago it was Foothill that upset Laguna 8-7 in their regular season meeting and the Knight’s almost did it again last Thursday, Jan. 8, at the Foothill pool but Laguna rallied to keep their long win streak alive. The Knights were almost successful this year with a strategy to aggressively defend Laguna stars Makenzie Fischer and Aria Fischer, hoping and somewhat succeeding that the game officials would be more forgiving on fouls than what is usually seen at the high school level.

Foothill scored first taking a rebound off a great Holly Parker block to score at the 3:08 in the first quarter just as a power play opportunity had ended. Foothill made it 2-0 with a power play goal in the final minute of the period but Laguna answered seconds later as Haley Evans fed Makenzie Fischer on a quick goal to make it 1-2 after the initial period.

After Holly Parker made a great save on Foothill’s second possession of the second quarter, Laguna executed another quick score as Aria Fischer fed Mia Salvini and it was 2-2 less than two minutes into the period. The tough battle featured numerous great saves, missed shots and lost opportunities. Breakers finally took the lead on their last possession of the half when Evans fed Makenzie on a power play opportunity with 43 seconds remaining.

Foothill scored off a lob shot on their first possession of the second half as the goal came as the shot clock expired 30 seconds into the quarter. Two possessions later Haley Evans surprised Foothill on a quick goal and after a Holly Parker save, Taylor Julson fired another quick shot and Laguna led 5-3 in less than three minutes. Later in the period, Foothill cut the lead to one on a power play goal with 2:38 left in the quarter.

In the fourth period, the Knights finally nailed Parker again on another lob shot with 3:26 remaining and it was suddenly a tie game. Breakers had a power play shot blocked on the ensuing possession followed by a Foothill turnover on a foul. Laguna’s go-ahead score followed as Makenzie Fischer fired on a six-on-five power play with just over two minutes remaining. The Knights caught a huge break in the final minute as Makenzie Fischer was called for a rare exclusion but Bella Baldridge’s field block of the Foothill shot caused the ball to hit off the cage post. Laguna then drove down the pool but Aria’s sweep shot hit the cage top bar giving the Knight’s one last chance with 11 seconds remaining. The final Foothill shot looked true but then was partially blocked by a quick-thinking Aria Fischer and dropped harmlessly short of the cage into the hands of Parker as the buzzer sounded. Laguna has now won 31 matches in a row, fourth longest streak in Southern Section history.

The state’s defending Division 1 champs, the LBHS water polo squad, from left: back row, Aria Fischer, Daniela Lucidi, Sophia Lucas, Ally Jochim, Thea Walsh, Holly Parker, Makenzie Fischer and Evan Tingler; front, Taylor Julson, Bella Baldridge, Natalie Selin, Brighid Burnes, Haley Evans, Mis Salvini, Caspian Brock and Gabi Beran.Photo courtesy of Laguna Girls Water Polo
The state’s defending Division 1 champs, the LBHS water polo squad, from left: back row, Aria Fischer, Daniela Lucidi, Sophia Lucas, Ally Jochim, Thea Walsh, Holly Parker, Makenzie Fischer and Evan Tingler; front, Taylor Julson, Bella Baldridge, Natalie Selin, Brighid Burnes, Haley Evans, Mis Salvini, Caspian Brock and Gabi Beran.Photo courtesy of Laguna Girls Water Polo

Laguna 6, Foothill 5

Goals:      3 – M Fischer, Evans, Julson, Salvini

Assists:   2 – Evans, 1 – Baldridge, A Fischer, M Fischer, Tingler

Steals:     1 – Baldridge, A Fischer, M Fischer, Parker, Salvini

Saves:     11 – Parker

 

This past week Laguna traveled to Costa Mesa (2-9) on Wednesday, Jan. 14, looking to extend their league win streak to 33 in a run that dates back to 2006. On Thursday, Jan. 15 they were to meet Dos Pueblos (7-1) in a non-league match at the Charger’s pool in Goleta. This Friday and Saturday, Jan. 16-17, Laguna is seeded first in the 16th annual Santa Barbara Tournament of Champions. On Friday Breakers will face the winner of El Toro-Riverside Poly in their opening contest and should see San Marcos later that day at Santa Barbara High School. If the seedings hold, Laguna would meet Corona del Mar for the first time this season on Saturday at Dos Pueblos. The championship match at 4:35 p.m. will probably be against the Newport-Foothill winner.

Next week, Laguna will have a single match hosting Saddleback (10-4) at the local pool on Wednesday, Jan. 21.

 

D-I SSCIF Poll for Jan 12: 1 – Laguna Beach, 2 – Foothill, 3 – Newport Harbor, 4 – Corona del Mar, 5 – San Marcos, 6 – Los Alamitos, 7 – Orange Lutheran, 8 – Dos Pueblos, 9 – Santa Margarita, 10 – Mater Dei, Other: Santa Barbara

 

JV Report – The talented JV squad (11-2) finished third in the inaugural Breakers JV Tournament this past weekend. The squad missed three freshman players that were permanently elevated to varsity: Thea Walsh (goalie), Sophia Lucas (attacker) and Evan Tingler (defender). Field player Joie Selin volunteered to act as the Laguna keeper getting better with each match played. The Friday games were easy romps as Laguna defeated Los Osos 23-4 and Mater Dei 20-1. In Saturday’s semifinals, eventual champion Newport led 4-1 after one period but had to hold off a surging Laguna for a 8-7 victory. Breakers came back in the third place game as Selin had some great blocks and Julia Cox- Kruger powered two late goals to lead Laguna to a 4-2 win over Corona del Mar.

LBHS alumnus and Coach Ethan Damato is his seventh season coaching water polo, the longest serving coach in the program’s 18-year history.

 

 

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