Breakers 4th at Newport
Laguna girls won two of five matches played over three days against many of the sport’s highest rated teams during a challenging winter break. Coach Ethan Damato’s young squad continues to surprise the polo community with their stellar defense. The team is looking stronger and very capable to defend their Division II CIF title.
On Tuesday, Dec. 29, Laguna hosted So Cal’s No. 1, Division I squad, Dos Pueblos, in a non-league match at the local pool. Breakers and Chargers were tied at 1 at the end of the first quarter as Lexie Ross scored on a sweep off a great pass from Jessie Holechek. Laguna took their only lead at 2-1 when Holechek fired a powerful shot in the first minute of the second period. Breakers had chances to extend their lead but seemed intimidated by the highly rated DP’s keeper and could not execute their shot opportunities. The Chargers finally tied the game on great tip shot off a pin-point pass at the 4:10 mark which opened the flood gates as the visitors scored three more times before half.
Breakers pulled to within two on a Ross ricochet into the cage for a goal. Chargers answered right back on a give-and-go play with the final score sneaking in at the third period buzzer on a sweep shot. There was no scoring in the fourth period even with the 30 second shot clock used in high school polo.
Dos Pueblos 7, Laguna 3:
Anderson: 2 assists, 1 steal; Duncan: 1 steal; Holechek: 1 goal, 1 assist, 4 steals
Ross: 2 goals, 1 steal; Shusko: 1 assist and 2 steals; E. Manetta: 9 saves, 2 steals
Newport Holiday Classic
Breakers opened the 16-team tournament on Wednesday, Dec. 30, with a solid 13-5 win over Santa Margarita in the rain. Yoshi Anderson started the scoring with a quick goal in the opening minute off a pass from Lexie Ross. The Eagles answered right back but Laguna took the lead for good off a penalty shot by Jesse Holechek midway through the period. The final two minutes of the period was all-Laguna as Holechek, Ross, and DeGroot scored to start the rout. In the second period it was more of the Laguna flood as the Breakers rolled to a 9-1 lead. Santa Margarita finally got a goal with eight seconds left in the half. Breakers led 11-2 in the third and freely substituted through most of the game or the score would have been more lopsided.
Laguna 13, Santa Margarita 5
Anderson: 2 assists, 1 steal; DeGroote: 1 goal; Holechek: 4 goals, 1 assist, 4 steals; A. Manetta: 1 goal, 1 assist, 1 steal; E. Manetta: 5 saves, 3 steals; Ross: 1 goal, 1 assist, 4 steals; Saxe: 1 goal; Shusko: 3 goals, 1 assist, 1 steal.
Breakers defeated Foothill (OC No. 6, D-I No. 6) in the tournament quarterfinals in a great defensive contest. Laguna led 2-0 in the first period off two outside shots by Ross and Holechek. Yoshi Anderson scored early in the second period to make it 3-0 but Foothill came back to score three straight with the tying score at the 1:27 mark on an outside cross shot. The Breakers answered quickly by Lexie Ross but Foothill tied it up with two seconds left in the half. The second half continued the sea-saw momentum until Jessie Holechek’s turn-around shot in the final minute of the third period swung the momentum back to Laguna as the Breakers took an 8-5 lead two minutes into the fourth period. Laguna seemed to sit on their lead after that allowing the Knights to creep back into the match as they scored two goals to pull within one point with 2:27 left in the contest. The final minutes were anxious moments for the Breakers as Foothill desperately tried to get a scoring shot off in the closing moments with the ball squarely in front of the Laguna cage. The final sequence resulted in a drop ball won by Laguna to run out the clock. The victory was Laguna’s fourth straight over the always powerful Knights and sent the Breakers to the semifinals.
Laguna 8, Foothill 7
Anderson: 1 goal, 3 assists; Duncan: 1 steal; Holechek: 3 goals, 3 steals; A. Manetta: 1 steal; E. Manetta: 6 saves, 1 steal; Ross: 2 goals, 1 steal; Shusko: 2 goals, 1 steal.
Newport Harbor used crisp passing to defeat Laguna 6-2 in the tournament semifinals on Dec. 31. Breakers pulled to trail 2-1 early in the second period on a backhanded shot by Lexie Ross with two Newport players literally hanging all over her. Laguna was just too timid on offense to keep pace with the Tars as the Breakers squandered too many scoring opportunities.
Newport Harbor 6, Laguna 2
E Manetta 2 saves; Ross: 1 goal; Shusko 1 goal.
In the nightcap at Newport Harbor, Laguna fired the shots but could not dent the Sea Queen goal, losing to Corona del Mar (OC # 5) 4-2 for third place. Breakers had many chances to take the lead but could not take advantage of the opportunities provided by their defense. In the championship game, Dos Pueblos defeated Newport 7-4.
Corona del Mar 4, Laguna 2
E Manetta 7 saves; DeGroote 1 goal; Holechek 1 goal.
Final Newport Holiday Tournament standings: 1 – Dos Pueblos, 2 – Newport, 3 – CdM, 4 – Laguna Beach, 5 – Edison, 6 – Foothill, 7 – Palos Verdes, 8 – Santa Barbara, 9 – Long Beach Wilson, 10 – Rosary, 11 – Santa Margarita, 12 – Poway, 13 – Carlsbad, 14 – Cathedral Catholic, 15 – Huntington Beach, 16 – Beckman.
The Breakers were on the road against an aggressive Montebello team at the City of Commerce Aquatorium this past Wednesday and in a match today with Rosary at Servite High School. Next week, Laguna opens league play at Estancia on Wednesday then travels to Santa Barbara for another 16-team power tournament.