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Girls' Water Polo: One win from glory

Laguna Beach girls' water polo team, the top seed, needs to beat Newport Harbor to grab CIF Division I crown.

February 27, 2014|By Mike Sciacca
(KEVIN CHANG, Coastline…)

For as tremendous the journey has been to date, the season now comes down to a single game for the Laguna Beach High girls' water polo team.

The Breakers have reached their ultimate destination, the William Woollett Jr. Aquatic Center in Irvine but not yet, they say, their ultimate goal.

It's been a simple goal, to win a CIF Southern Section championship, but never an easy one.

The Breakers, the target of many a team in 2014, have put themselves to do just that.

Top-seeded Laguna will return to the Woollett Center Saturday for its final game of the season, the CIF Southern Section Division 1 championship final, three days after the Breakers took care of Los Alamitos, 12-5, at the same pool site they have been working and fighting toward to reach at the end the season.

"We've all been thinking about this all year," Laguna junior utility and co-captain Makenzie Fischer said. "This is where we want to be."

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In Saturday's 1 p.m. final, Laguna will face a longtime nemesis, Newport Harbor. The Sailors earned their right to play for the title by edging Santa Barbara, 11-10, in Wednesday's first division semifinal.

The two programs are no stranger to one another.

"We know them well, and they know us well," Laguna Coach Ethan Damato said of the title-game matchup. "The team who comes ready to play, will be successful."

Orange Coast League champion Laguna was ready to play in its semifinal game Wednesday against a Los Alamitos team that won the Sunset League by one game over Newport Harbor.

The Breakers blanked the Griffins (22-9), 2-0, by the end of the first quarter and extended their lead to 7-2 by halftime. Defensively, they pounded Los Alamitos and forced the Griffins to work mostly from long-range. The Breakers either worked the 30-second shot clock to near-expiration, or got the ball back when the Griffins were unable to get off any feasible shot.

"I was really proud of the girls," Damato said. "It was a good first quarter and we played great defense. We didn't put away some shots that I had hoped we would, but it was just a matter of time before we started going on offense."

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