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Breakers get it done

Strong play in final quarter helps Laguna outlast Montebello, 9-7, in rematch of 2009 CIF title match.

January 08, 2010|By Matt Szabo

COMMERCE — The Commerce Casino is straight ahead off the 5 Freeway, on the way to the Commerce Aquatorium.

Members of the Laguna Beach High girls’ water polo team are too young to gamble. They had enough to worry about Wednesday afternoon on their way to face Montebello, in a rematch of last year’s CIF Southern Section Division II championship game, won by Laguna.

Both teams are younger this year, with one senior on each side. But, in crunch time, sophomore Yoshi Andersen doubled down to help the Breakers earn a 9-7 nonleague win at the Aquatorium.

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Andersen had a game-high four goals for Laguna Beach (7-3), ranked No. 2 in the division. Two of those came in the fourth quarter, giving the Breakers a two-goal lead on a precise lob shot from the right with 3:21 to go. Then, after the Oilers’ Laura Lopez scored her fourth goal of the game, Andersen responded from set, beating a Montebello defender — and crashing goalie Leticia Perez — with a backhand shot with 1:05 to go.

That goal gave the Breakers their final advantage.

“She really had energy all game,” Laguna Coach Ethan Damato said of Andersen. “You saw some bar-outs in the first half, but we told her to keep shooting throughout the game. We wanted her to be aggressive.”

The Breakers all were, and needed to be against the Oilers (3-5), ranked No. 5 in Division II. Montebello stayed close all game and even took a 5-4 lead early in the second half on Lopez’s goal from near mid-pool.

But Laguna’s Riley Duncan immediately responded to even the score, then Jessie Holechek scored on a power play, after perimeter passes from junior Jessica Shusko and Andersen.

“They made that run in the third quarter,” said Breakers’ senior and Stanford commit Lexie Ross, who finished with a goal and a steal. “But we knew that we could beat them from every end of the pool. We just had to pull together. It just took all of us talking and communicating with each other, and we were really able to pull together.”

The Breakers, who finished fourth at the Holiday Cup last week, have been pulling together all season long. Different players have stepped up at different times, which causes problems for opponents.

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