Everyone on the Laguna Beach High boys' water polo roster had a hand in Wednesday's Orange Coast League victory over Estancia, and it helped the Breakers maintain a share of first place in the league standings.
The Breakers, the sixth-ranked team in CIF Southern Section Division 2, netted a 23-1 victory over the visiting Eagles to run their league record to 3-0 and overall mark to 10-9.
They are tied for first place with Costa Mesa and their next league opponent, Godinez, is a game behind the league co-leaders.
Laguna travels to Santa Ana Valley High Wednesday to take on Godinez at 3:15 p.m.
Greyson Benson's six goals led Laguna's scoring barrage, and Benson and Trent Sadler both had five steals.
"It was good to get everyone a lot of playing time," Laguna Coach Ethan Damato said. "A lot of guys have been working hard behind the scenes for our varsity team and our league games are a chance for them to play a lot."
Prior to Wednesday's win, Laguna took on a pair of nonleague opponents, and split the two matches.
First, the visiting Breakers fell, 15-13, in overtime, Oct. 17 to second-ranked Murrieta Valley. Aki Andersen and Jakob Colladay both scored three goals for the Breakers.
It was the second loss this season for Laguna against the Nighthawks who defeated the Breakers last month at the Santa Barbara Tournament.
Laguna came back the next day at its own pool to take on Coronado, and edged the Islanders, 11-10. Cade Baldridge scored four goals, Colladay three goals, and Garrett Hartley had six saves.
"Thursday and Friday were two really tough games against big, physical opponents who really challenged us physically in the pool," Damato said. "In both games, we went down early in the first, led going into the fourth [quarter], and lost fourth-quarter leads.
"On Thursday night, at Murrieta after our game we all felt like we really let a win slip out of our hands leading by two goals with five minutes left in the fourth before losing in OT. We talked a lot on Thursday night about why and how that happened and why we keep coming up short at the end of these games.
"On Friday, down a goal with four minutes in the fourth and Coronado's timeout, we gathered together on the wall, we knew we had been in this situation before. If we wanted the outcome to be different then we would need to rally together and find ways to make plays at the end of the game. I challenged the boys in the huddle to make plays together, as a unit and that's exactly what they did. We scored three unanswered goals and led by two with one minute left in the game, securing the win. I thought that was a big growth moment for our guys who also had a two-year home winning streak in the back of their minds."
Laguna hasn't lost a home match since the 2010 season.
"We take a lot of pride in winning in the 'Bath Tub,' as our opponents like to call it," Damato said.
The Breakers again step away from league play to host to Damien at 5 p.m. Friday. The Spartans are ranked ninth in Division 2.
Damien was the runner-up to Laguna at both the 2010 and 2011 CIF Southern Section Division 3 championships. Since the 2009 season, the teams have met six times, with Laguna winning four of those games including both CIF finals.
"Damien is a quality program year after year," Damato said. "This year they have been up and down but are playing really well as the year winds down, like they always do. We have been in the top six of CIF (Division 2) all year and will be focused on not losing this big divisional game, and holding our ground in the division."
The Breakers, the No. 3 team in CIF Southern Section Division 2, are closing in on another perfect run through the Orange Coast League schedule after picking up recent big wins against Godinez and Calvary Chapel.
Laguna swept past host Godinez, 18-0, Tuesday. In singles play, No. 1 Ashley Shelton (6-1, 6-3, 6-0), No. 2 Ashley Fair (6-1, 6-0, 6-0), and No. 3 Nicole Doiron (6-1, 6-1, 6-0), won handily. So did the Breakers' doubles teams of No. 1 Sarah Nederlander/Madeline Loomis (6-0) and Iman Berri/Kathleen Kimball (6-0, 6-1), No. 2 team Stephanie Tat/Malia Helms (6-1,6-1, 6-1), and No. 3 teams Shawna Yang/Natasha Keces (6-0, 6-1), and Bailey Jaeger/Keces (6-0).
The win put Laguna at 9-0 in league and 13-4 overall.
The Breakers also took down Calvary Chapel Oct. 17, 15-3. In singles, Shelton swept (6-3, 6-4, 6-2) at No. 2, and No. 1 Kira Hamilton (6-0, 6-3) and Fair at No. 3 (6-3, 6-0), both won two sets. Jaeger/Keces (6-1, 6-0) and Keces/Olivia Morrison (6-0) swept at No. 2 doubles, as did the No. 3 team of Tat/Helms (6-0, 6-2, 6-0). At No. 1 doubles, Nederlander/Loomis won their two sets (6-0, 6-0).
In a nonleague match Monday (Oct. 21) at Balboa Bay Club, Laguna defeated Sage Hill, 12-6. Hamilton (6-0, 6-3, 6-1) swept at No. 1 singles, and Jaeger/Keces (7-5, 6-3) and Keces/Morrison won (6-1) at the No. 1 doubles line, and Nederlander/Loomis swept by 6-3 scores at No. 2 doubles.
Laguna closed out its league season Thursday at Costa Mesa. The score wasn't available at press time. Next Wednesday and Thursday, the Breakers compete at the OCL Tournament at the Tennis Center.
The Breakers started the second round of Orange Coast League play Tuesday and scored a 25-10, 25-12, 25-11 win over host Saddleback.
Kelsey Paul, Sabrina Stillwell and Danielle Quirarte each had eight kills, Stillwell had eight digs, Aspen Rocha 10 digs and 16 assists, and Katelyn Carballo had nine digs for the Breakers.
The 76th consecutive league victory put Laguna, ranked third in CIF Southern Section Division 1A, at 6-0 in league and 15-9 overall.
The Breakers played Estancia Thursday. The score wasn't available at press time. Next week, the Breakers play host to Calvary Chapel Tuesday, and Godinez Thursday. Both matches start at 5:30 p.m.
The Laguna girls' team, which replaced defending CIF Southern Section Division 4 champion JSerra at No. 1 in this week's Division 4 rankings, will run a few of its varsity team members at Friday's Mt. SAC Invitational in Walnut. Coach Steve Lalim said the varsity lineup Friday will be Kirsten Lansiedel, Brielle Budroe, Allison Konno, Greer Jacobs, Bailey Shoemaker, Lauryn Alvarez, and Taylor Alvarez.
The Breakers will run at 1:31 p.m.
"The Mt. SAC invite is a legendary meet," Lalim said. "It's very exciting for any runner to participate in. We look forward to it every year."
Laguna boys' Coach Scott Wittkop said his team will not compete Friday at Mt. SAC.
Both Laguna teams will vie for the Orange Coast League championship at Wednesday's league finals meet (1:45 p.m.) at Irvine Regional Park.
"The kids have worked hard throughout the season and it will pay off at league finals, CIF, and State," Wittkop said.
CIF Weekly Rankings
Football: Laguna Beach (No. 9, Southern Division).
Boys' Water Polo: Laguna Beach (No. 6, Division 2).
Girls' Volleyball: Laguna Beach (No. 3, Division 1A).
Girls' Tennis: Laguna Beach (No. 2, Division 2).
Boys' Cross-Country: Laguna Beach (No. 3, Division 4).
Girls' Cross-Country: Laguna Beach (No. 1, Division 4).Copyright © 2015, The Baltimore Sun