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Lots of talent for Breakers

Laguna Beach, which begins the season ranked No. 1, has one of its most talented teams in program history.

November 29, 2013|By Mike Sciacca
  • Laguna Beach High senior goalie Jenna Knott is a two-time first-team All-Orange Coast League selection
Laguna Beach High senior goalie Jenna Knott is a two-time… (KEVIN CHANG, Coastline…)

When the 2012-13 girls' water polo season gets underway next week, the Laguna Beach High Breakers are starting out in a position that they want to hold on to when the season comes to an end: No. 1.

That ranking matches expectations, as the Breakers are a talent-laden team that features an All-American, Junior Olympics All-Americans, All-CIF and all-league players.

"This is one of the most talented and experienced teams we have had at Laguna Beach High, ever," Coach Ethan Damato said. "What's funny about that, is we only have two seniors but most of these girls have been on top-ranked club teams their whole careers, as well as ODP (Olympic Development Program) and national teams.

"We are very deep and really fast. We also have a great group of girls out of the water that care about each other. It will be a fun team to coach. I'm really excited."

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The Breakers started and played several freshmen and sophomores on a team that last winter finished among the top six in every tournament it entered, won another Orange Coast League title, and beat Dos Pueblos in the postseason to reach the quarterfinal round of the CIF Southern Section Division 1 playoffs. The Breakers only left the postseason after dropping a tough, overtime quarterfinal round battle to a Newport Harbor team that finished runner-up to the Division 1 title.

The Breakers and Sailors could meet in the Newport Harbor Holiday Cup the first week of January, and also have a scheduled nonleague game Jan. 24 at Newport.

In addition to a talented group of returning players, Laguna has three transfer players on its roster: Cara Borkovec (Fenwick, Ill.), Taylor Julson (El Toro High), and Mia Salvini (Mater Dei). Damato said that both Borkovec and Julson will be eligible to start the season, and Salvini won't be available until mid-January.

As for that top-ranking to begin the season, Damato, who also serves as the USA Water Polo Youth National Team Assistant Coach, and head coach for the ODP Southern Pacific Zone 12th-Grade-and-Under Team, says it's based on returning starters, incoming freshman, transfers, and the Breakers' success during summer and fall play.

"Right now, it means nothing other than we are expected to be a top team," he said of being ranked No. 1 in Division 1. "We haven't won or done anything yet as a team and it's my job to keep reminding the girls of that. We need to prove we deserve the ranking and more importantly, we want to be at the top of the ranking in February, when it matters."

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