Water Polo (21-10)
Santa Margarita used a 2-0 run in the third quarter and held off a Breakers comeback to edge Laguna 6-4 for the 2016 Division 2 title Saturday, Nov. 19, at Irvine’s Woollett Center. The two teams exchanged power play goals in the first period. Santa Margarita took a 2-1 lead on their first possession in the second period when Larson McCarroll was tagged with an exclusion call to give the Eagles (26-7) a power play opportunity, which they used. Later midway in the period, both teams exchanged mid-court shots for goals for the last scoring of the half.
In the third period Santa Margarita extended their lead to 4-2 with a goal at the 4:22 mark and added a fifth after an exclusion call on Camden Benson gave the Trinity League school another power play score.
In the final quarter, Sebastian Jacobs scored on Laguna’s first possession and the Breakers pulled to within one when Colton Gregory electrified the overflow crowd with a score off a great pass by Judge Washer at the 2:57 mark. After that, the two teams battled through three sets of possessions before Santa Margarita got an insurance goal with just 35 seconds remaining.
Gordon Pike was stellar in the cage for Laguna with a number of key saves and field players Judge Washer, Camden Benson, Colton Gregory, Sebastian Jacobs, Peter Weiland, Larson McCarroll gave a full 28-minute effort.
Don’t confuse the new power divisions with the old league equity playoffs used by water polo the past 43 seasons. The 2016 Division 2 playoffs offered no easy run to the finals for the top seeds. The semifinal contest Wednesday, Nov. 16, was a tough defensive battle won by the Breakers 9-4 over Murrieta Valley as was the second round battle at Hoover. Santa Margarita defeated El Segundo, Palos Verdes, and Ventura (9-6) to reach the championship match.