Laguna locals participated in the annual USA Water Polo Junior Olympics and a number of teams exceeded their seed. The 2020 tournament was canceled and most club events have resulted in play outside of California so all the participants were excited about having a locally hosted tournament.
14U Championship Division
Four incoming players were members of the Vanguard A squad that captured the 14’s title in a thrilling comeback fashion over the North Irvine (Orange Lutheran) team. Down 5-3, Vanguard stormed back with Laguna locals Presley Jones and Kara Carver each scoring a goal down the stretch. Tied after regulation, the format goes straight to a shootout with Jones scoring first point. Siena Jumani was stellar in the cage blocking two of the opponent’s penalty shots while the third attempt was off the post. Kara Carver clinched the gold medal with a solid penalty score and the victory. Also playing in the championship match was Estelle Karaba. The Set 14’s entry finished fifth overall going 8-2 in the tournament.
16U Championship Division
The Set 16 Black squad with many of the Breaker Jophomores and younger Juniors finished second for their second straight Junior Olympics appearance (they narrowly lost in the 14’s finals in 2019) losing to the Santa Barbara area 805A team 10-6 for their only tournament loss. Local players earning the silver included Natasha Denny, Charlotte Riches, Alexandria Schneider, Cleo Washer, Lauren Short, Emerson Hensley, Ava Knepper, and Myah Pinto.
18U Championship Division
The older juniors and upcoming seniors were on the Set 18-Grey squad that finished fourth after losing 6-3 to the Northern California 680A squad composed of mostly graduating seniors. The Grey split their games with runner-up Newport Harbor defeating them in a shootout on July 23 at Westminster High School and on Sunday morning dropping a 9-8 contest in the semifinals. The graduating Laguna seniors were on Set 18-Black squad along with incoming junior keeper Lauren Schneider. The team cruised until Saturday when they lost to eventual champion Southern California Black 8-5 and then blew a 4-0 lead to fall to Newport in a shootout. The team finished fifth after crushing San Diego Shores 16-4 on Sunday.
The takeaway from the event is Laguna will be pressed by Newport Harbor who will be Laguna’s chief league and public school rival in the upcoming seasons. The Tars are back and cannot be taken lightly. In addition, the Trinity League powers will also be in the hunt to dethrone the Breakers as Santa Margarita, Orange Lutheran and Mater Dei have solid returning players and a great club feeder program.
Fall Sports SSCIF Playoff Divisions
Southern Section CIF released the playoff division assignments for fall sports this week with only football to be based on the actual season results.
Cross Country – based on enrollment with five divisions. Laguna will remain in Division 4 for schools between 601 and 1520 students. Girls Tennis – Five divisions with Laguna in the top Division 1. Girls Volleyball – Nine divisions with the two-year weighted average ranking Laguna thirteenth overall. The top eight to 16 schools will be in Division 1 off the actual fall 2021 results with the balance of the top 45 schools to be considered for Division 2 playoffs. Boys Water Polo – six divisions with the top eight of the 28-school D1 to be bumped to the Open Division based on their fall performance. Breakers are in Division 1.
Practice begins Aug. 2 with photo day scheduled for Aug. 10. The first football game for the Breakers will be on Aug. 20 at Guyer Field versus Costa Mesa. Kickoff will be at 7 p.m. Key returning players include Tyler Field, Will Bingham, Cooper Buckhorn, David Dworakowski, Dylan Sprague, and Luke Degner.
Veteran Boys Volleyball Coach Lance Stewart is acting as the interm girls coach and is running the summer practices thru Aug. 5 with the team selections scheduled for Aug. 6 and the first regular season event on Aug. 14. The head coaching position is posted by the district but no word on the interview schedule let alone a hire date.
Lance Stewart was the State Boys Player-of-the-Year in 1980 and was Laguna head Girls Volleyball coach for t No Cal 680A squad wo seasons 1989-90 and for ten seasons from 2003-2012 with a 242-98 all time record. His squads earned 10 league titles and two SSCIF crowns. Stewart was also the girls coach at Corona del Mar for three seasons winning the State title in 1992
Send Laguna High School Sports notes and Laguna team Summer Camp updates to Frank at [email protected]