Laguna breaks through with Holiday Cup title

Girls' Water Polo

Breakers, ranked No. 1 in CIF Southern Section Division 1, capture crown with 11-8 win over Newport Harbor.

January 09, 2014|By Mike Sciacca

Prior to the start of the 2014 Holiday Cup, Laguna Beach High Coach Ethan Damato called the two-day event one of the "premiere" girls' water polo tournaments. It was also one of the major tournament titles, he said, that had eluded the Laguna program throughout the years.

That changed Saturday at Newport Harbor High.

In a key matchup of the season between the two of the top-ranked teams in CIF Southern Section Division 1, No. 1 Laguna defeated No. 3-ranked and tournament co-host Newport Harbor, 11-8.

In what Damato called a 'great team effort" turned in by his team in the title game, junior utility Makenzie Fischer scored a game-high five goals. Sophomore attacker Haley Evans scored twice, and single goals went to Bella Baldridge, Taylor Julson, Cara Borkovec, and Ally Jochim.

Sophomore goalie Holly Parker had seven saves in the second half.

Laguna had fallen behind, 6-5, early in the second half on a power-play goal by Newport's Heidi Fults. The Breakers, however, scored the next four goals. They clung to a 9-8 lead early in the fourth quarter, but went on to score the final three goals, two coming on consecutive scores by Fischer, of the game.


Laguna had failed to make the semifinal round of the tournament the previous two years. Damato said that was his team's No. 1 goal this year. The Breakers not only attained that goal by winning their first two games, they then advanced to the championship game by defeating second-ranked Corona del Mar, 11-6, in a Saturday semifinal.

The second goal, he said, was for the Breakers to win their first "big tournament."

"I was really proud of how the girls played all weekend," Damato said. "We got better as a team every game. In the CdM semifinal, we did a great job of starting fast, playing great defense and never looking back. The girls did a great job executing the game plan and than flat out made plays.

"In the finals, Newport came to play, and while things were not perfect by any means, we put our backs together and fought our way through it. Fisch (Makenzie Fischer) was great in both games and made it clear that she was going to get her shots and make her presence felt. Cara [Borkovec], Taylor [Julson] and Bella [Baldridge] were great in the semis, and Haley [Evans] and Natalie [Selin] really stepped up the final for us.

"Our entire team contributed and played in every game. It was a great weekend for our program."

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