Laguna finds way to win

Breakers Roundup

Breakers boys' water polo team trails for nearly entire match against La CaƱada before tying in final seconds and winning in overtime.

October 13, 2011|By Mike Sciacca
  • Laguna's Nicky Brunner scores late in regulation to tie the score and send game into overtime Tuesday against La Canada.
Laguna's Nicky Brunner scores late in regulation… (DON LEACH, Coastline…)

Laguna Beach boys' water polo Coach Ethan Damato wasn't quite sure how it happened, but it did.

And he'll take it.

Trailing throughout Tuesday's nonleague match against visiting La Cañada, Laguna somehow managed to tie score seconds before the end of regulation, then went through two three-minute overtime periods to pull out a 14-11 victory over the stunned Spartans.

The anticipated match-up pitted two of the top teams in CIF Southern Section Division 1: defending-champion Laguna has been ranked No. 1 all season long; La Cañada is ranked fifth.

"It was a wild ending, for sure," Damato said after his team improved to 12-4. "We never led until overtime. I don't know how we did it, and the guys were stunned, too. It was an amazing team effort."

The Breakers trailed, 5-1, in the second quarter, were down, 8-4, in the third quarter and started the fourth behind, 8-5. Damato said he thought the Breakers got off their final shot — a miss, with just under 30 seconds left in regulation. La Cañada held possession and a 9-8 lead with no shot clock. The Breakers brought goalie Erik Henrikson out of the cage and pressed in the field, leaving an open net for La Cañada.


The Spartans moved the ball around before calling a timeout with 25 seconds left.

"I thought they'd just hold on to the ball and run out the clock," Damato said. "Then they called that timeout."

The Breakers took advantage of the move and Tommy Renner came up with a steal off the timeout to give the Breakers possession with 17 seconds left. Caleb Scott got off a shot that hit the bar with under 10 seconds to go, but Nicky Brunner was there to grab the rebound and his shot with four seconds left went into the net and tied the score.

The Breakers took a 10-9 lead in overtime on a goal by Renner, which was his only goal of the game. After La Cañada tied the score (10-10), Samer Alkateb's goal put Laguna in front for good.

Laguna outscored the Spartans, 5-2, in overtime.

Camron Hauer scored five goals, Riley Thomas had four goals and Brunner scored twice. Henrikson had 18 saves and two steals.

"He actually started the game off pretty slow but really picked it up and was a huge part in our going on our run," Damato said of Henrikson.

Coastline Pilot Articles Coastline Pilot Articles