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2014-15 Girls water polo player of the year: Makenzie Fischer
The standards for Makenzie Fischer and her Laguna Beach girls water polo team were sky-high from the start.
She entered the season as the reigning Orange County and CIF-SS Division 1 player of the year on a team seeking to defend a section championship.
How could Fischer and the Breakers possibly top that?
They found a way.
Fischer raised her level of play and grew as a leader while the Breakers also improved and evolved as a cohesive unit. The combination produced a season for the ages.
Powered by a dominant season from Fischer, Laguna Beach (31-0) became the second Orange County team to finish undefeated and the second O.C. school to repeat as Division 1 champion.
For her efforts, Fischer is The Register’s player of the year for a second consecutive season. The U.S. national team player joins former Los Alamitos standout Rachel Fattal, now an All-American at UCLA, as the only two-time county players of the year.
“She was the best player in the water in every game she played,” Orange Lutheran coach Steve Carrera said in a text regarding Fischer, a senior who signed with Stanford.
“Not only can she score but she plays amazing defense, has great field vision and loves to get her teammates involved. … She elevated her teammates to a whole new level.”
Laguna Beach finished 2013-14 with a 30-1 record, but the Breakers were perfect this winter thanks in large part of Fischer. She earned another CIF player of the year award after leading the Breakers with a personal-best 138 goals.
Her scoring resume included a game-winning strike with 23 seconds left against Newport Harbor and a winner with 2:03 left against Foothill.
The utility player also dished out 42 assists, played improved 2-meter defense and grabbed a team-high 61 steals.
When Laguna Beach faced challenges from Foothill center Cana Manzella or Corona del Mar attacker Maddie Musselman, Breakers coach Ethan Damato assigned Fischer to calm the waters.
“One of the fiercest competitors I’ve ever been around,” Damato said during the season of Fischer, who earned MVP honors at the Santa Barbara and Irvine Southern California tournaments. “She finds ways to win.”
Fischer also became more of a vocal leader, especially in trying times like the first period of the Division 1 final against Foothill.
“This year, you knew she was the captain,” said her sister, Aria Fischer, a sophomore.
Fischer said she will miss the time with her teammates the most.
“They’re all my sisters and best friends,” she said. “The relationships were also shown in the games. That was a huge part of our team.”
Fischer’s next goal is to make the U.S. Olympic team for 2016. She will defer her enrollment at Stanford one year to train with the national team.
“I just want to make the most out of (the opportunity) and just really improve on my skills (and) hopefully become a much better player,” she said.
Fischer certainly did that with the Breakers.
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