Breakers send strong message

Breakers Roundup

In a rematch of last year's CIF Southern Section Division 3 title game, Laguna boys' water polo team easily defeats Damien, 10-5.

October 20, 2011|By Mike Sciacca

One might say that the Laguna Beach High boys' water polo team made a statement Tuesday. The Breakers sent a message to the rest of CIF Southern Section Division 3: If you want to win the 2011 division title, you'll have to go through the defending champion.

Top-ranked Laguna fended off its latest challenge from a D-3 rival Tuesday as it took control of second-ranked Damien from start to finish, winning, 10-5, at the Laguna pool.

Five days ago, the Breakers punished fourth-ranked Palos Verdes, 21-9. A week ago, they rallied to force overtime and went on to turn back sixth-ranked La Cañada, 14-11.


Laguna has not lost to a Division 3 team this year. Tuesday's showdown also was a rematch of last year's division title game won by the Breakers.

"I think our guys have answered the bell every time this year," Laguna Coach Ethan Damato said. "Our guys played a great game today, especially on defense. I thought our defensive effort was outstanding. I think if we played better offense in the first half, we could have put the game away. Still, it was a real nice effort."

The Breakers (15-4) led all the way against Damien. Senior captain Nolan McConnell slung a sideways shot for the first score less than two minutes into the game. Damien came back to tie the score on an Austin Miller goal with 1:52 left in the first quarter, but the Breakers went on a 2-0 run to close out the quarter.

After Riley Thomas posted his second goal of the match to beat the shot clock with less than two minutes left in the first half, Laguna upped its lead to 7-2, which is where it stood at halftime.

"I was really pleased with the way our guys responded after the score was tied 1-1," Damato said. "We went on a scoring run after that and I think it's a great testament to our guys who have been playing at a high level in almost every divisional game we've played."

Erik Henrikson's strong play in the cage helped Laguna stake its early advantage. The senior had several outstanding saves in the opening half and finished with 14 saves and three steals.

The Spartans were able to pull within, 7-4, midway through the third quarter, but just as they had done at the end of the first quarter, the Breakers scored the final two goals of the quarter to carry a 9-4 lead into the fourth quarter. A goal by Jack Dodson with 3:09 to play put the Breakers on top, 10-4.

McConnell led all scorers with four goals and picked up a pair of assists. Thomas finished with three goals.

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