Breakers Are Division Champions Again
Girls Water Polo (30-1)
Emma Lineback sparked a fourth quarter comeback to lead the Breakers to a 7-6 victory over Foothill High School last Saturday night at Irvine’s Woollett Center to repeat as the Southern Section’s Division 1 Champion for 2020. An overflow spirited crowd at the facility witnessed a very physical contest by a senior-laden Foothill squad that appeared driven on pulling off the upset. The title was Laguna’s fifth at D1 and seventh overall in girls water polo. For the school, it was Laguna’s 47th team title in 87 seasons of athletics.
The only score in the first quarter came just before the final minute of the period as the Knights fired a hard shot for the period point. Breakers came right back and scored on their first possession of the second quarter as Emma Lineback executed a perfect pass from Morgan Van Alphen on a power play opportunity. Foothill then took command of the period scoring at 4:19 on a counter play and again on their next possession at 3:05 remaining on a power play. Foothill made it 4-1 when they connected on a lob shot at the 2:21 mark.
At that point the Breakers seemed to regroup as Nicole Struss skillfully drew an exclusion setting up a power play that resulted in a Molly Renner to Morgan Van Alphen score to cut the deficit with 1:51 remaining in the half.
The two teams traded possessions deep into the third period before Renner found Jessie Rose for a point at the 3:25 mark. After two more exchanges of possessions and shots, Foothill scored with 1:28 remaining. Laguna came right back as Imani Clemons drew an exclusion and a Struss to Van Alphen shot pulled Laguna’s deficit back to one at 4-5. Foothill remained unfazed scoring their final goal with 15 seconds remaining to end the quarter with a 6-4 advantage.
The full momentum shift in the final period came early as Molly Renner won the sprint giving Laguna the initial possession for the quarter. Like clockwork, Struss drew an exclusion followed by a perfect precision pass from Rachael Carver to Emma Lineback for the score with less than 30 seconds expired. Two possessions later, Struss drew a 5-meter penalty shot that Lineback powered into the cage and the contest was finally tied with 5:05 remaining. Two minutes later, Emma Lineback found the cage again as Nicole Struss provided the pass and Laguna led for good with 3:18 left on the clock.
Foothill felt the pressure on their four final possession tries turning two over on steals by Renner and Lineback, running out of time on their third try before almost scoring on their final attempt. As the seconds ticked down, the Knights were able to create a power play but Emma Singer deflected a nearly point-blank shot attempt back to Laguna goalie Lauren Schneider as the whistle sounded.
The Foothill–Laguna rivalry is quite intense. The Knights have played in 24 seasons, 6 D-1 titles, 15 major in-season tournament titles and an all-time 545-156 record. Laguna has played one less season and now has five D1 titles, 17 major in-season tournament crowns and a 545-145 overall record. Breakers have been D1 since 2011. The Breakers hold the series advantage at 24-14.
Laguna v. Newport Harbor (9-7)
Breakers had a hard time shaking the young Newport Harbor squad and had to rally in the final period to advance to the finals. Emma Lineback had three goals while Molly Renner supplied five assists and four steals. Nicole Struss was three for four in shots on goal plus drew three exclusions. Breakers struggled on power plays converting just two of seven attempts. It was Laguna’s fourth win over Newport this season and the 16th straight conquest since 2013.
Laguna winning ways continued at the Newport Elks tournament as the Breakers picked up a string of lopsided wins.
Laguna battered Brea-Olinda High School 10-0 on Feb. 21 on the Wildcat’s field in the 62nd meeting between the two schools in a series that dates to 1938. The win was the most lopsided victory for Laguna in 48 years.
On Feb. 21, Laguna defeated Crean Lutheran 12-2 thanks to 14 hits (3 by Eric Silva) and solid pitching by Aiden Kidd with 10 strikeouts.
On Feb. 24, Laguna crushed Hemet 11-0 banging out 14 hits in the game. Laguna used four pitchers with Eric Silva picking up the win.
This past Wednesday, Jackson Yelland pitched five solid innings and Laguna collected 15 hits in a 11-1 victory over Katella at Skipper Carrillo Field. Nolan Smith led the squad with three hits and the Breakers scored in every inning.
The Costa Mesa division of the Newport Elks tournament concludes with the finals Feb. 28 as the Breakers look for their second straight Elks title. Website: newportelks.usapremiersports.com/
Laguna will play next week hosting Edison at 3 p.m. on March 6 at Skipper Carrillo Field in a Sunset Conference crossover non-league contest
Laguna’s season opened with a pair of losses dropping a 12-0 contest to Santa Ana Valley on Feb. 24 and 7-0 to Whitney on Feb. 25.
Breakers have a doubleheader at Santa Rosa Academy in Riverside County on March 7.
Boys Tennis (1-0)
Breakers took five singles and seven doubles to defeat Aliso Niguel 12-6 on Tuesday to open their 86th tennis season. Andrew Johnson and Mo Berri won all three of their sets at Number 3 doubles.
Laguna hosted Mater Dei on Feb. 27 and will travel to Dana Hills on March 3 and Laguna Hills on March 5.
Boys Volleyball (5-2)
Breakers opened the 2020 season Feb. 22 as Lance Stewart returned to the helm as head coach.
Breakers were completing in the 35-team Tesoro Varsity Tournament where Laguna finished fourth. Huntington Beach defeated Newport Harbor for the title.
Breakers easily swept their pool on Saturday defeating Great Oak 25-5, 25-10, Capistrano Valley 25-8, 25-11, and Long Beach Wilson 25-21, 25-20. In the playoffs on Saturday, Laguna swept Northwood 25-17, 25-21 before coming back to defeat Santa Margarita 23-25, 26-24, 15-12.
Against the Eagles in the three-set thriller, Geste Bianchi had 12 kills, 3 aces and Andrew Reavis had 11 kills. Milo Zegowitz added five kills, two solo blocks and a block assist. Josh Meiswinkel dished out 30 assists.
On Monday, Huntington Beach defeated Laguna 25-18, 25-14 in the semifinals and Laguna lost the third place match to San Clemente 25-18, 25-13.
Laguna is in the 46th annual Orange County tournament this weekend and will face Edison, El Toro and Corona del Mar in pool play.
For the latest schedules and scores, all levels, go to the team pages at lbhs.lbusd.org/athletics/teams