Laguna scored the winning goal in the second half, where its defense shut out the Eagles (7-8-4), who were the third-place team from the Pioneer League.
"Going into the second half, we knew we would be able to create more chances and just needed to settle down a little bit to get our opportunity," Richards said.
Barton converted a cross under pressure from El Segundo defenders to post a first-half goal. The Eagles responded by scoring just before halftime to tie the score. Gregory scored the game-winner on a strike from just inside the box. Richards said that Gregory showed "great composure and technique," on the play.
"The way the upper classmen have welcomed and guided all the new young players onto the team has been great to see," Richards said. "It's no surprise that our first to goals in the playoffs have come from a third-year returning varsity player (Barton), and then a freshman (Gregory). This ability to incorporate old and new players is one if the team's biggest strengths."
A week after winning the first league championship in program history, Laguna Beach ventures into postseason play Friday with a 3 p.m. Division 4 home game at Guyer Field against Santa Monica.
Laguna is making its third postseason appearance in the last four years. The Breakers carry a 14-game unbeaten streak into their meeting with the Vikings, who are the No. 3 team from the tough Ocean League.
"It's a tough first-round match up and we will be tested big-time," Laguna Coach Bill Rolfing said. "But our girls are tough. Our attitude is that we've faced a lot of adversity all year long in league play, in tough scheduling, and with injuries. This is just one of those big games for us."