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Breakers ready for rematch against Newport

Breakers Roundup

After falling by a goal in overtime at Santa Barbara Tournament of Champions, Laguna girls' water polo team seeks important nonleague win.

January 26, 2012|By Mike Sciacca

The first time the Laguna Beach and Newport Harbor girls' water polo teams met this season, the matchup had the feeling of a postseason game.

It did come during an important event, the Santa Barbara Tournament of Champions on Jan. 13, and the teams needed an overtime session to determine the winner, with Newport emerging with a 7-6 come-from-behind victory.

The game reflected the parity of the teams that have dominated the top-10 poll this year in CIF Division 1. At 3:15 p.m. Friday at Newport, the teams meet again in a nonleague game that comes less than a week before the Irvine SoCal Championship Tournament, the final tournament of the regular season.

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It might not be the last meeting between the teams, either.

"We played very well last time we met, but we were unable to pull off the win," Laguna Coach Ethan Damato said. "I think we saw our mistakes and we feel like we can give them a great game. They are a very good team, but so are we. Our girls will be prepared and they know we will have to make more plays than them to win.

"With all of these teams so close (in CIF Division 1), it really comes down to who put their chances away and who makes stops at the end of the game."

In the overtime game Jan. 13, Laguna held a 3-0 halftime lead on Newport, but the Sailors rallied in the second half to get the win. Since then, the Sailors (14-4) have assumed first place in the Sunset League and come into Friday's game ranked second in CIF. Their last loss was a 10-8 setback in the Jan. 14 final of the Santa Barbara tournament.

Laguna (15-4), the leader of the Orange Coast League, is ranked sixth in CIF.

Friday's match at Newport is the first for Laguna in a week. In their last outing, the Breakers also suffered a one-goal loss to another highly ranked Division 1 team, Foothill. They fell, 12-11, to the fourth-ranked Knights (17-3). Yoshi Andersen, Melena Masson and Lexie Del Toro each scored three goals to lead the way for the Breakers.

"I though the girls came out extremely excited and really went for it," Damato said. "We made a lot of great plays and jumped out to an early lead in the first half. With any big game comes a lot of nerves and we let them get the best of us and simply made too many mistakes on both ends to win that game. With that said, we were up 11-10 with 1 1/2 minutes left but were unable to hold on, so we had our chances. Giving up 12 goals is way too many.

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