Playoffs Conclude: Heartbreak for One, a Title for Another

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Laguna seniors, from left, Bella Baldridge, Aria Fischer, Claire Sonne and Angelique Begay celebrate their third Division 1 title in four seasons. Photo by Cheryl Baldridge
Laguna seniors, from left, Bella Baldridge, Aria Fischer, Claire Sonne and Angelique Begay celebrate their third Division 1 title in four seasons. Photo by Cheryl Baldridge

Winter sports wrapped up with drama, heartbreak and finally a historic title victory with the Laguna Beach High School girls’ water polo team crowned by a fourth title Saturday, Feb. 25, while the girls’ soccer squad’s playoff hopes stopped in the quarter-final with a nail-biting penalty kick shoot-out the night before.

 

Girls Water Polo (31-0)

The overflow crowd at Irvine’s Woollett Aquatic Center aimed to celebrate a four-year accomplishment as the Breakers took the pool facing San Marcos (26-6) Royals from Santa Barbara. The visiting Royals fans lacked the surly vibe of some opponents.

Laguna entered the contest 9-0 the past four seasons verses San Marcos with the closest contest coming in a 14-9 victory in a driving rainstorm in 2014. The final contest would be even closer (6-2) thanks to the officiating. Refs seemed to lose their whistle on fouls committed against the Breakers once Laguna established a 3-0 lead in the first quarter.

The outstanding San Marcos goalie, Sophie Trumbull, recorded 11 saves on 15 shots. The effort by San Marcos was finally deflated with 3:38 remaining in the contest when Bella Baldridge stole an inbound pass from Turnbull mid-pool and drove to an uncontested score (her third of the day) for the game’s final point.

Breakers keeper, Thea Walsh recorded 11 saves to add to her school record 298 for the season. The two goals scored by San Marcos came from Piper Smith including one on a power play opportunity in the third period. Aria Fischer was superior on defense shutting down USC-bound Paige Hauschild, who was held scoreless.

Fischer concluded her Laguna career with three Division 1 titles in three seasons of play, an 81-1 record including the past 79 consecutively. Her career Laguna totals are 274 goals (fifth), 140 assists (fifth), and 152 steals (eighth). Bella Baldridge (111-4) concluded her four-year career with 268 goals (sixth), 321 assists (first and a state record), 181 steals (fifth).

The Laguna squad is the fifth Division I team to go undefeated in the past 20 seasons, joining 2003 Foothill (30-0), 2010 Dos Pueblos (31-0), 2011 Dos Pueblos (31-0) and 2015 Laguna (31-0). The title is Laguna’s 43rd all-time section title in the school’s 83 athletic seasons and 12th title in the top division. For girls water polo, the sport now has five titles, Division 4 in 2001, Division 2 in 2009, and the three Division 1 titles (2014, ‘15, and ‘17).

 

Girls Soccer (20-3-3)

Laguna’s Greer Jacobs battles for the ball against Bloomington High in an unsuccessful playoff contest at home Friday, Feb. 24. Photo by Karen Anderson
Laguna’s Greer Jacobs battles for the ball against Bloomington High in an unsuccessful playoff contest at home Friday, Feb. 24. Photo by Karen Anderson

Division 4 playoff dreams ended in a tie last Friday that resulted in the Breakers losing the shootout to determine which team would advance to the semifinals at Brentwood School this past Tuesday, Feb. 28.

Before a good-sized crowd at Guyer Field, Laguna and visiting Bloomington (14-2-5) battled throughout the contest with the Bears taking the lead with 14 minutes remaining in the first half as the Bruins’ Marissa Gonzales scored off a free kick just outside the box.

Nine minutes later Shanai Auguis delivered a pass to Reilyn Turner to tie the contest. Turner was quite ill and still managed to play and score after being sick in bed all day, said Karen Anderson, a team parent

Breakers had a number of shot opportunities in the second half and the initial 10 minute overtime period, but could not deliver the winning goal. After the completion of the two 10-minute overtime periods, the game officially ended in a 1-1 tie and a shootout was held to determine which team would advance. After the initial five shots for each team, the squads were tied at two scores each with successful penalty kicks from Laguna by Brynn Anderson and Greer Jacobs. From that point, the playoff continued one shootout round at a time until one team fails to match the other. Laguna took the first shot and missed followed by Bloomington’s shooter, who delivered the golden goal.

For the third time in the program history, Laguna has made it to the playoff quarterfinals but has failed to advance. Bloomington has defeated Laguna before in the playoffs taking a 2-1 double overtime victory in 2010. A key core of the players should return in 2018 giving the Breakers another playoff shot.

 

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