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High School Roundup: Laguna's title streak ends

Breakers, who had won the past two CIF Southern Section Division 3 titles, lose in Division 2 semifinal to Santa Barbara.

November 15, 2012|By Mike Sciacca
(Kevin Chang | Coastline…)

Laguna Beach's two-year reign as a CIF Southern Section champion in boys' water polo came to an end Wednesday in Irvine.

Laguna, which won the last two Division 3 titles, came up just short of contending for a Division 2 crown in its first year in the division. The No. 3-seeded Breakers reached the semifinal round in the division, but had their title streak stopped by No. 2 Santa Barbara, which scored a 9-7 victory at the William Woollett Jr. Aquatics Center.

Laguna, reigning champion of the Orange Coast League, ended its year at 21-10. Santa Barbara (22-8), which won the Channel League title, moves on to play in the Division 2 title game at Saturday at 2:45 p.m.

"I was really proud of our guys, and what they did this year," Laguna Coach Ethan Damato said. "We didn't play well tonight but we were 9-7 against a good Santa Barbara team. Our guys didn't give up until the final whistle."

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Laguna led just twice in the semifinal. The Breakers took a 1-0 lead 34 seconds into the game on a skip shot into the right side of the cage by Riley Thomas. Their final lead came less than a minute later, when Caleb Scott scored from close range to make it 2-1.

Santa Barbara scored the next three goals and took the lead for good, 3-2, on a goal by Nathaniel Hunter with the Dons holding a six-on-five advantage.

Laguna drew to within 4-3 at the end of the first quarter when Jack Dodson drilled a shot into the left corner of the cage just before the buzzer. The Breakers managed only a goal by Duncan Lynde, off an assist from Trevor Collins, in the second quarter, where Santa Barbara was able to extend its lead to 7-4 at the break.

Laguna, which was just two of eight in power-play situations, outscored the Dons, 3-2, in the second half. The Breakers had chances to narrow the gap early in the half but missed their first four shots of the third quarter. They finally broke through when a steal by Camron Hauer led to another goal by Dodson to bring the score to 7-5 with 2:48 left in the quarter.

The Breakers drew to within 8-6 with 5:30 left on a goal by Scott, but with two Laguna players drawing exclusions during the same sequence, Santa Barbara was able to move back into a three-goal cushion when Skylar Matthews scored on a power play with 3:28 to play.

Thomas, Laguna's leading scorer this season, netted his second goal of the game with 2:14 left to make it 9-7.

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