“We didn’t play our best but we played with intensity and, as demonstrated by the last few weeks of the season, have learned how to win,” Coach Jon Hendrickson said.
The Breakers had come close to winning a CIF title the last couple of years, but finished it off this year by taking the Division II title with a 9-5 victory over Montebello in the championship game.
Laguna Beach, led by seniors like Stanford-bound Annika Dries, Cal-bound Taylor Dodson and UCLA-bound Natasha Schulman, was top-ranked in Division II all season long. Dries, a two-meter player, was named Orange Coast League and Division II Player of the Year.
Coach Ethan Damato’s club also had a key contribution in the title game by freshman Melena Masson, who scored twice. The Breakers also went on to finish third at the now-discontinued CIF Masters Meet.
“My team is so great,” said Schulman, a defender. “We worked hard and no one took anything for granted. No one tried to be the diva. We all just worked together because we wanted this. This feeling of winning [CIF] is so amazing.”
Laguna had one of the better seasons in program history, clinching a CIF playoff berth for the first time in nine years.
Once there, the Breakers topped Artesia, 2-1, in an overtime Division III wild-card match before falling in the first round.
Senior defender/midfielder Holden Penney was named the Orange Coast League MVP, and was joined on the first team by juniors Kelsey Peterson and Jessie Goodman. They all anchored a defense that gave up just 20 goals in 25 games.
TRACK & FIELD
Penney also stood out in track, where she was a four-event league champion (100 meters, 200, long jump, 400 relay).
As a team, the Breakers finished second to defending champion Costa Mesa. Natasha Strickland also won a pair of events at league finals, the 800 and 1600.
Laguna Beach had its most successful girls’ swim season in school history. Not only did the Breakers defend their league title, but they finished second at the CIF Southern Section Division III finals. Dries (Stanford), Chelsea Wild (USC), Dodson (Cal) and Andrea Reigel (UCLA) set a Division III meet record in the 200 free relay (1:38.37).
“They wanted to beat that record and they smashed it,” first-year Coach Kari Johnson said.
“That’s so huge for Laguna. This aquatics season has been amazing. A CIF record in the relay, and second place in CIF. At the start of the year, I never imagined we would get second in CIF.”
Reigel also finished second in Division III in both the 200 individual medley and 100 free.
At the Orange Coast League finals, the dominant Laguna Beach squad won every event, including relays.