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Mater Dei boys, Laguna Beach girls capture state titles
SANTA ANA Mater Dei’s boys water polo team couldn’t get past Harvard-Westlake of Studio City last fall in four matches, including the CIF-SS Division 1 final.
On Sunday, the Monarchs continued to progress on reversing that trend by defeating the top-seeded Wolverines in the final of the biggest high school summer tournament.
Behind at least seven blocks from its field defenders and four goals apiece from attackers Luke Wyatt and Jackson Seybold, Mater Dei defeated the two-time defending Division 1 champion, 13-7, in the final of the California State High School Championships at Foothill.
Laguna Beach’s reigning Division 1 champion girls defeated host Corona del Mar, 9-2, in the other final. The Breakers led, 8-0, going into the fourth period despite playing without U.S. national team member Aria Fischer, who competed at the U.S. Open.
The CIF State doesn’t contest state championships in water polo, so the summer tournaments featuring 48 boys and 48 girls teams from across California serve as the unofficial versions.
“They’re hungry,” Mater Dei boys coach Chris Segesman said of his team, which also defeated Harvard-Westlake in another tournament final in early June. “They’re motivated to set their mark and they’re motivated to get better.”
The Monarchs’ signature Sunday was their defense against U.S. national team center Ben Hallock. Mater Dei double teamed the 6-foot-5, 210-pound Hallock, using Huntington Beach transfer Elias Lule to guard behind Hallock and another player in front. Harvard-Westlake took several shots from the point but the Monarchs’ field defenders blocked many of the attempts.
“You can’t guard Hallock one-on-one,” Segesman said of the senior-to-be who finished with three goals but none with the teams even-strength. “Today was our day with it. If we play like that, we’ll be able to compete for the end result.”
The field defense also helped Mater Dei’s first-year starting goalie Nolan Strout, who made 12 saves.
Offensive balance was another strength for Mater Dei. Wyatt and East Coast-transfer and U.S. national team member Thomas Dunstan (three goals) gave Mater Dei two strong left-handed shooters to go along with the right-handed Seybold.
“They’re really well-balanced,” Harvard-Westlake coach Brian Flacks said of Mater Dei. “We’ll have some great battles again (this season).”
Mater Dei finished 5 for 10 on the power-play; the Wolverines went 4 for 10.
In the third-place match:
Loyola of Los Angeles 11, Orange Lutheran 9 (OT): The Cubs made all five of their shots in shootouts and received a block from goalie William Rubschlager to edge the Lancers at Foothill. The Lancers reached the semifinals with an 8-7 victory against Huntington Beach. “Just to be in the mix right now is a good thing,” Orange Lutheran coach Steve Carrera said.
In the girls final:
Laguna Beach 9, Corona del Mar 2: Sophia Lucas, Natalie Selin, Ally Jochim and Sophie Legget each scored twice while Bella Baldridge added one goal, three assists and five steals to lead the Breakers. Mia Salvini had three steals and two assists for Laguna Beach.