Defense Sends Polo Back to CIF Semifinals

 Junior Cade Baldridge fires in a goal during Laguna’s 6-3 second round, CIF win against Villa Park. Photos by Robert Campbell
Junior Cade Baldridge fires in a goal during Laguna’s 6-3 second round, CIF win against Villa Park.
Photos by Robert Campbell

Boys Water Polo (19-11, 4-0)

Breakers opened their 29th trip to the playoffs with a pair of defensive wins to advance to the semifinals for the sixth consecutive year facing top seed Agoura this past Wednesday, Nov. 20, at the Woollett Center in Irvine. Should the Breakers defeat the Chargers, the Division II finals will be Saturday, Nov. 23, at 1 p.m. at the Woollett Aquatic Center adjacent to Irvine High School. The opponent will be Foothill or Murrieta Valley.

The Breakers opponent last Wednesday was Agoura, the defending D-II champions that also won a pair of D-IV titles in 2010 and 2011. Breakers last faced them in 2012 losing 8-5 in a double overtime non-league match at Oaks Christian.

In the playoff matches so far, Laguna defeated Damian (15-13) on Thursday, Nov. 14 at the Laguna Community Pool in a tight 9-7 battle that saw the Spartans storm back from a 8-4 deficit to give Laguna some anxious moments into the fourth period. Cade Baldridge led all scorers with four goals, Jakob Colladay had two goals, one assist and three steals. Jack Dodson had a goal, two assists, and five steals. Garrett Hartley was credited with seven saves.

The quarterfinal match on Saturday with Villa Park, the fourth seed, was a chess battle with drama on every

Junior Garret Hartley reaches for one of his seven saves in Laguna’s second round CIF win against Villa Park.
Junior Garret Hartley reaches for one of his seven saves in Laguna’s second round CIF win against Villa Park.

possession. Breakers finally broke the scoreless duel with less than a minute remaining in the opening seven-minute period on a shot by Cade Baldridge. The Spartans countered immediately scoring with just 16 seconds on the period clock. The lone goal in the second quarter was on a 6-on-4 power play by Nolan Del Toro with four minutes remaining in the half. In all, four of Laguna’s six goals were on power plays while Villa Park could only convert one of eight.

In the third period, Laguna built a 5-1 lead on scores by Aki Anderson, Greyson Benson, and Colliday before Villa Park finally found the cage with 21 seconds left.  Three minutes into the final quarter, the Spartans pulled to within two at 5-3 on a lob shot to put the crowd on edge until Trevor Collins added the final tally with 1:53 remaining. The expanded seating at the local pool provided space for additional fans and it was fully utilized with an overflow crowd celebrating the Breaker win, their 34th consecutive home pool victory dating back to October 2010. The goalies for both teams were outstanding, Sam Thompson for Villa Park with 10 saves and Garrett Hartley for the Breakers with seven.

 Breakers Ousted Early in CIF Playoff  

Girls Volleyball (20-10, 10-0)

For only the third time in 40 section playoffs dating back to 1972, Laguna Beach High School’s girls’ volleyball team failed to advance to at-least quarterfinals after a 25-22, 25-21, 25-18 loss last Thursday, Nov. 14 at San Juan Hills. Breakers were down early in set one falling behind 10-4 but rallied to pull within one at 21-22 before losing. In set two, the Breakers led 17-15 but lost the momentum down the stretch. Breakers tried to rally in set three after falling behind 18-8, but despite strong play by Sabrina Stillwell and Sage Patchell they could not close the gap. Aspen Rocha was steady as always giving 100% while the lone senior, Samantha Kruger, came off the bench with solid play as a defensive specialist. Overall, Stillwell led all Laguna players with 14 kills, one ace and seven kills. Sage Patchell chipped in seven kills, three aces, and a block assist. Aspen Rocha dished out 20 assists and recorded four aces and four digs.

Winter Sports

Girls Water Polo # 1

Winter sports are just around the corner with the girls water polo starting the season No. 1 in the SSCIF D-I poll for the coming season. Their season opens at home on Tuesday, Dec. 3 with Dana Hills at 4:15 p.m. in the Community Pool. Ethan Damato, a 2000 graduate of Laguna, is in his fifth season with the Breakers as head coach with a 117-39 record. Breakers were the 2009 D-II champions and have advanced to the D-I semifinals the past three seasons.

Boys basketball opens at the Godinez tournament on Dec. 2, girls basketball at Newport Harbor on Nov. 26, boys soccer hosts St. Margaret’s on Monday, Dec. 2, and girls soccer at Tustin on Dec. 3. 

SSCIF Girls Water Polo Poll # 1: 1 – Laguna Beach, 2 – Foothill, 3 – Newport Harbor, 4 – Los Alamitos, 5 – San Marcos, 6 – Corona del Mar, 7 – Santa Barbara, 8 – Dos Pueblos, 9 – Edison, 10 – Irvine.



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