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Top 10 Sports Stories of 2009:

Queens of the pool

Laguna Beach High girls’ aquatics had a year to remember, led by the water polo team capturing a Division II title.

January 01, 2010|By Matt Szabo

Girls from Laguna Beach — high school and younger — accomplished great things in the pool in 2009.

They earned a CIF title, a CIF runner-up and a Junior Olympics crown. The accomplishments occupy three of the spots on the Top 10 Sports Stories of 2009.

Throw in great success in various sports from football to volleyball to tennis, and the Breakers had a great year, as well.

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Here at the Top 10 Sports Stories of 2009, as reported by the Coastline Pilot:

1 Girls’ water polo team breaks throughGirls’ water polo team breaks through

The Breakers had come close to winning a CIF title before, losing in the Division II finals and semifinals, respectively, by a single goal each time. But this year they wouldn’t be denied, topping Montebello, 9-5, in the Division II championship game.

Coach Ethan Damato’s squad was led by a particularly strong senior class, including Annika Dries (Stanford), Taylor Dodson (Cal), Natasha Schulman (UCLA) and Sarah Zuziak (UC Santa Barbara). Dries was the Orange Coast League Most Valuable Player and Division II Player of the Year.

The Breakers, whose only four losses came to Division I schools, were ranked atop Division II all year.

“It’s kind of funny, because I started playing with Taylor in age-group, seventh grade, when I first started water polo," Dries said. “Then I started to know Natasha in eighth grade, as we started playing with the national team. And I’ve known Sarah since seventh grade, when we started playing. When you think of it in just one game, it’s ‘OK, great, we beat Montebello, 9-5.’ But when you take it out of the perspective of my whole water polo career, it’s kind of funny how it’s all led up to this point.

“That makes it more emotional. During the game, I have to be not as emotional. But, after the game, I just looked back and said, ‘Wow. We did this together.’ It’s been a great ride.”

2 Boys’ cross-country wins stateBoys’ cross-country wins state

This was another team that was led by a dominant senior class and wouldn’t be denied.

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