On May 1 and 2, Laguna's 10-and-under club water polo team went to San Diego to compete against some of the best water polo teams in the state. Laguna played five difficult games May 1 and the final May 2. Laguna played against club teams from Chino Hills, San Diego Shores, Commerce and SET. According to the players, the most challenging teams were Commerce, San Diego Shores and SET.
After Laguna won the gold medal game, 5-4, over San Diego Shores, Coach Chad Beeler was pushed into the pool along with all the players that had played in the tournament.
Congratulations to Beeler and the 11 champions, who competed in this tournament: Joseph Colladay, Aidan Polizois, Sean Decker, Colton Gregory, Sophia Lucas, Patrick Saunders, Sebastian Jacobs, Johnny Mitchell, Marccon Salib, Adam Mitchell and Peter Weiland.
For Weiland, whose birthday was May 1, the tournament was one to remember: he was named the tournament's most valuable player.
"I feel proud of myself, because when Neil Sanderson won MVP of the San Diego Cup last year, I hoped that maybe the next year I would win it," Weiland said.
Colladay received all-tournament honors for being one of the most diligent goalies in the tournament. Colladay hardly let any goals get past him.
"It is really good getting first-place because we really worked hard on it," Colladay said. "It felt really good getting an all-tournament team trophy. I was amazed that I got it. I didn't think that I would get it, but I sort of did at the same time."
Jacobs also got recognized for his wonderful efforts and made the all-tourney team.
"I think it was not just me who won it, I think it was the whole team," he said. "I think when we were winning, everybody thought we were going to win and then when they caught up, we thought we were going to lose and then when we got our courage back, we won the game."
Said Beeler: "I am very proud of how the team performed. They played as one team with one goal in mind and went home with the cup. All the hard work, extra practice and swimming, had paid off. It was a tough and close game."
— Marccon Salib, Community Correspondent
U.S. Olympian inspires local youthIt was a big day for Laguna Beach Club Water Polo players.
Beeler Aquatics held a clinic April 24 that was hosted by U.S. Olympian Terry Schroeder exclusively for the Laguna Beach Water Polo Club teams. Schroeder helped the U.S. win its first major international water polo competition in 1991, as the Americans captured the FINA Cup in Barcelona by defeating longtime nemesis Yugoslavia. The Schroeder-led U.S. team won two Olympic silver medals, finishing second to Yugoslavia in 1984 and '88. Currently, Schroeder is coaching Team USA.
Schroeder shared with the teams his water polo experience.
"Terry Schroeder is really one of the best water polo players I have ever seen," said Marccon Salib who is a member of the Laguna Beach 10-and-Under team. "He showed us the plays that the gold medalists play by. He told us what it takes to be an Olympian."
During the clinic, Schroeder answered a lot of the teams' questions. He also shared with them his private feelings when he finally made it to the Olympics. How incredible it felt when they won, how amazing it was to be in that stadium hearing all the cheering of the Americans, how astounding it was to watch the flag and hear the National Anthem played.
"It was amazing to meet Terry Schroeder and be coached by him, because he is so inspirational and [he] taught us that if you put your mind to it, you can achieve anything," said Sage Pfeiffer, who plays on the Laguna 14U girls' team.
During the clinic, which lasted three hours, Schroeder was able to teach the kids new drills, which he now uses to coach his own team. He showed them the latest moves and techniques that the Europeans adopted. Schroeder had the players practice some of those moves and drills in the pool several times.
"I had fun and learned about team sportsmanship," said Isabel Riches, who plays on the 10U team. "It was funny when he joked about spray-painting all his Olympic silver medals gold."
— Hossam Salib, Community Correspondent