Girls Strike Gold in Santa Barbara

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By Erich Fischer, Special to the Independent

 

From left, Aria Fischer, Evan Tingler, Angelique Begay, Thea Walsh, Alana Evans, Evie Cant, Isabelle Riches, Audrey Duffy, Danielle Borelli, Katya Cox-Kruger and Kyla Whitelock.
From left, Aria Fischer, Evan Tingler, Angelique Begay, Thea Walsh, Alana Evans, Evie Cant, Isabelle Riches, Audrey Duffy, Danielle Borelli, Katya Cox-Kruger and Kyla Whitelock.

Laguna Beach’s 14-and-under girls’ water polo team surprised the competition by defeating a heavily favored Santa Barbara squad 5-4 in an intense gold medal game this past weekend.

Despite losing six of seven starters from last season’s squad, the youthful and spirited girls kept pace.  By the half, Laguna held a one point advantage and kept a narrow lead until Santa Barbara tied the game with a goal out of center with 40 seconds left.  Laguna quickly struck back with a goal from the outside after a time out to go up by one and held off a last-second attempt by Santa Barbara to claim the championship.

“Nobody expected this team would make it to the finals of this tournament let alone take out the No. 1 team in the nation to win it!” said Chad Beeler, club director of Laguna Beach Water Polo Club.

Laguna started the tournament with a 13 to 2 win over Santa Barbara Bronze, defeated Foothill in a thrilling 13-12 shootout victory and beat Huntington Beach 15-5.  On the final day of the competition, Laguna earned a resounding 13-4 semifinal victory against Rosebowl and then beat Santa Barbara’s top squad in the championship game.

 

Erich Fischer coaches the 14 and under girls polo team.

 

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