Laguna finishes sixth at TOC

Breakers girls' water polo team goes 2-2 in prestigious tournament in Santa Barbara.

January 20, 2011|By Mike Sciacca,

Before the Laguna Beach girls' water polo team headed to Santa Barbara last week for the Tournament of Champions, Breakers Coach Ethan Damato said his squad was eying a top-four finish in the prestigious, 16-team event featuring several of the southland's top-rated teams.

Laguna came close but ended up coming home with a sixth-place finish after falling for the third time this season to Corona del Mar in the fifth-place game Saturday.

Laguna, ranked sixth in CIF Division 1, went 2-2 in the tournament, defeating Edison for a second time this season, 12-7 last Friday, and San Clemente, 15-2, on Saturday. The losses were to eventual tournament runner-up Santa Barbara (8-5) last Friday and CdM (6-4).


The Breakers' Melena Masson, who had five goals and five steals in the win over Edison, was named to the all-tournament team. The junior finished the tournament with seven goals, 10 steals and two assists.

"We were disappointed Friday night with how we played in the quarters against Santa Barbara," Damato said. "We did not play well. With that said, Santa Barbara played very well and was a little bit quicker and sharper than we were. They are a good team. The next morning we bounced back and beat San Clemente and played maybe our best game of the season. In the afternoon game we played CdM for the third time in three weeks and lost in another close battle where we just couldn't put our shots away.

"Overall, it was a great weekend and showed us what we need to do moving forward to improve."

Damato said he was impressed with the way his Breakers bounced back from Friday's disappointing loss to Santa Barbara — a team the Breakers defeated, 5-4 on Dec. 30 at the Holiday Cup — to handle San Clemente in their next outing Saturday.

"The San Clemente game was a great example of how well we played defensively," he said. "The score was 9-0 at halftime. Our defense sparked the counter attack and opened things up for our shooters. Jessie Holechek and Yoshi Andersen were looking to attack from the opening whistle and scored 11 goals between the two of them, all of those coming in three quarters of play. That game was a great example of the maturity on this team and their ability to bounce back after a tough loss.

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