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McConnell grabs top spot on All-CIF list

Laguna Beach senior is one of seven Breakers named to the Division 3 team.

December 29, 2011|By Mike Sciacca

First, a CIF Southern Section Division 3 championship. Now, more laurels have been bestowed upon the Laguna Beach boys' water polo team.

Just weeks after winning a second consecutive CIF championship, the Breakers were awarded several spots on the 2011 All-CIF team. The team is headed by Laguna senior Nolan McConnell, who was named the division's Player of the Year, and by Ethan Damato, who snagged Coach of the Year honors.

Joining the two on the All-CIF first team are two other Laguna seniors, goalie Erik Henrikson and Samer Alkateb, and junior Riley Thomas. Junior Camron Hauer and senior Tommy Renner were named second-team All-CIF and senior Nicky Brunner was a third-team selection.

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"I was really happy to see us get so many guys recognized for both all-league and All-CIF honors," Damato said. "I think our guys deserved to be up there. They had a great year and I would take my top 10 over more than half the guys on that (All-CIF) list."

McConnell capped a stellar career by posting 109 goals, 85 assists and 66 steals during his senior year.

Damato said McConnell is the boys' program's all-time leading scorer.

"Nolan is hands down the best player I have had since taking over the boys' program and maybe the best player we have had in our program, ever," Damato said. "Having a player of his caliber over the last four years has done so much for our team and our entire program.

"He and I have had a great run together and I look forward to seeing what he can do at the NCAA level and on the national level. He will surely be missed and remembered for a long time."

McConnell said Wednesday that he is still undecided as to where he will play college ball. He said he will decide between Long Beach State, UCLA and Cal.

michael.sciacca@latimes.com

Twitter: @MikeSciacca

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