Girls water polo upsets Newport in Surf League Showdown


Laguna Upsets Newport in Surf League Showdown

LBHS junior Kara Carver created the winning play against Newport Harbor last Tuesday and was recognized at the Santa Barbara TOC with All-Tournament honors. She leads the team in steals, #2 in scoring and #2 assists. Photo courtesy of Laguna Girls Water Polo.

GIRLS WATER POLO (10-9, 2-1)

Kara Carver pulled a final-minute steal, drew and exclusion, then tossed a pass to a wide-open Ava Knepper, who fired a quick goal to secure a 10-9 double-overtime victory over the host Sailors at the Newport pool this past Wednesday, Jan. 16.

Newport had one last possession before time expired, but their off-shot attempt bounced off the cage post in the closing seconds. With the victory, Laguna is on track to earning a share of the Sunset Surf League title and the program’s first since 2021 and 18th overall.

Laguna gave up an early goal in the opening quarter to Newport but proceeded to build a 4-1 lead before Newport tied the game midway through the second period at 4-4. The tough defense by both teams limited the shots, and the officiating allowed a very physical game. Laguna scored the only goals in the third period with a toss by Presley Jones and Knepper, but Newport battled back to tie the contest with 3:31 remaining in the final period and countered Laguna’s last-minute goal by Carver to tie the contest in the closing seconds. 

Overtime starts with two mandatory three-minute periods before going to three-minute sudden-death periods.

Newport scored twice in the first overtime, taking a 9-8 lead into the second overtime. Carver scored on Laguna’s first possession to tie the game at 9-9. Newport’s next two tries were stopped on a field block by Presley Jones and by a poor shot that hit the goal cage top bar. Newport’s third try was spoiled by the Carver steal and the subsequent Laguna goal.

Last weekend, Laguna played tough defense in going 2-2 at the Santa Barbara TOC, finishing sixth overall with all the top 10 teams participating. Breakers opened the annual event, defeating San Clemente 10-6 with the team playing the entire squad in the game played on Friday afternoon at Dos Pueblos High School. That evening, Laguna battled CIF #2 Foothill before losing 8-7 on a late goal. Knepper led the team with four goals against the Knights.

Saturday, the Breakers defeated Oaks Christian 14-11, with Knepper scoring three goals and tossing five assists. Emerson Hensley drew five exclusions, while Carver drew two five-meter penalties that Knepper was able to score on. Carver scored seven goals in the win. In the afternoon game, Laguna was missing Knepper and lost to Newport 10-8 in a game Newport led almost all the way. Carver was selected to the All-Tournament team.

Final standings: 1 – Orange Lutheran, 2 – Foothill, 3 – Mater Dei, 4 – San Marcos, 5 – Newport, 6 – Laguna, 7 – Oaks Christian, 8 – Long Beach Wilson, 9 – Bishop’s/La Jolla, 10 – Corona del Mar, 11 – San Clemente, 12 – Los Alamitos, 13 – Dos Pueblos, 14 – Downey, 15 – Alta Loma, 16 – Mira Costa.

The last major in-season tournament is Jan. 25-27 at Newport.

Statistical Leaders [19 games] Goals: 64 – Ava Knepper, Assists: 34 – Presley Jones, Steals: 39 – Kara Carver, Drawn Exclusions: 38 – Emerson Hensley. Saves: 122 – Siena Jumani.

BOYS BASKETBALL (11-11, 0-2)

The Breakers were competitive but fell short in a pair of conference games, falling 60-53 to Marina on Jan. 10 and 54-46 to Corona del Mar on Jan. 12. Against the Vikings, Dylan McEachern scored 32 in the game while Jack Halvorson scored 15 in the Wave League opening contest at Dugger Gym. Jack Halvorson scored 19 points at Corona del Mar, including five 3-point shots, while Dylan McEachern added 13 and Ryan Cheng 10. 

Upcoming home games: Tuesday, Jan. 30, against Corona del Mar, and Thursday, Feb. 1, against Huntington Beach.


Laguna split their league games, defeating Newport Harbor 45-31 on Jan. 11, with Alex Grombchevsky scoring 14 points and Kate Cheng 12 in the win. Lily Alvarado had 13 rebounds. On Jan. 16, Marina (3-0, 14-8) swamped the squad 50-32. Last Saturday, Jan. 13, the team lost to Valley View/Moreno Valley 47-38 in a showcase game played at Norco High School. Kate Cheng scored 19 against the Eagles.

BOYS SOCCER (4-9-1, 1-1-0)

The Breakers kept their playoff chances alive with a 3-1 win at Marina on Jan. 12. Laguna scored off a shot by Dylan Petrie-Norris and two scores by Jaxson Hutcheon. Earlier in league play, the Breakers were trashed 6-1 by Huntington Beach (4-6-1, 2-0) on Jan. 10 at Guyer Field. Laguna finished the first round of league play on Jan. 17 with Fountain Valley, then play two non-league games with matches at Corona del Mar on Jan. 19 and Edison on Jan. 24. The second round of league play starts with Huntington on Jan. 26. The last home game is Jan. 29 with Marina.

GIRLS SOCCER (8-4-1, 1-1-0)

Laguna split their league matches, losing 2-0 to Corona del Mar (3-0, 11-4-1) but surprising Fountain Valley 2-1 on Jan. 16 at the Baron’s campus. Laguna played Huntington Beach on Jan. 18 and Los Alamitos on Jan. 23 in a pair of non-league contests before returning to league play at Edison on Jan. 25.


Laguna’s wrestling team defeated Edison 42-32 this past Wednesday at Dugger Gym to finish second in the Sunset Wave League. The Breakers had defeated Huntington Beach earlier this season. Photo courtesy of Laguna Beach Athletics

Laguna dropped their league match to Marina 48-26. Individual wrestler results were not provided. The final dual match was Jan. 17 with Edison.


Reilyn Turner, the most decorated Laguna soccer player, was recently drafted #6 overall in the recent National Women’s Soccer League player draft by Louisville. Turner was a 4-year star at UCLA, finishing her career as the fifth all-time career scorer for the Bruins. At Laguna, she was an All-CIF selection and Orange Coast League Player of the Year. The local teams in the Women’s Pro League are Angel City, which plays at BMO Stadium next to USC, and the San Diego Wave, which plays at Snapdragon Stadium at San Diego State.

Have a note/question on Laguna sports/correction/update? E-mail Frank at [email protected].

Looking for the 2023-24 High School schedules and scores? Check Laguna Beach High School on the Max Preps website. 

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