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DREW A. KELLEY , CONTRIBUTING PHOTOGRAPHER
Laguna Beach's Bella Baldridge scores against Mater Dei during the CIF-SS Division 1 girls water polo playoffs in Santa Ana.

Laguna Beach holds off Mater Dei, reaches semifinals

STAFF WRITER

Laguna Beach’s girls water polo team fought its nerves and a whole lot more Saturday as host Mater Dei pushed the Breakers deep into the fourth period.

The Monarchs’ student section, comprised of players from their boys program, roared behind one of the goalie cages. Mater Dei’s defense employed surprise adjustments and the Breakers found foul trouble.

And the score in the CIF-SS Division 1 quarterfinal was tied with just more than four minutes left in regulation.

“We battled some nerves,” Laguna Beach coach Ethan Damato said. “It was a great playoff environment (but) maybe not in our benefit.”

But with a trip to Wednesday’s semifinals on the line, the two-time defending Division 1 champions responded. Natalie Selin scored twice in a key 3-0 run in the fourth and the Breakers defense held on to secure Laguna Beach a 9-7 victory.

Related: Saturday's scoreboard, semifinal matchups

Freshman Sophie Leggett snapped a 6-6 with a perimeter strike with 4:17 left but the crucial goals by Selin followed. The senior scored on a drive with 1:48 left after her field block on defense. She also put away a counterattack with 1:25 left after a steal by Bella Baldridge (three goals, three assists).

The 3-0 run also featured a steal by Haley Evans coming out of a Mater Dei timeout and a stretch-save by Holly Parker (11 saves, three steals) on a direct shot with 26 seconds left.

“Will and heart,” Damato said of his top-seeded Breakers (27-2), who play fifth-seeded Foothill in the semifinals in Irvine, “that’s what got us through.”

Mater Dei (21-8) tweaked its power-play defense and held Laguna Beach to a 1-for-7 effort. The Monarchs also struggled with the extra attacker, going 1 for 6. Skyler Pyle (three goals, two field blocks) and goalie Marley Presiado (nine saves) led Mater Dei.

“That’s why they’re champs,” Mater Dei coach Chris Segesman said of the Breakers. “They executed. … That’s the experience they have and that’s the experience that we’re gaining.”

Also in Division 1:

Foothill 11, Dos Pueblos 7: Noelle Wijnbelt and Lana Gorlinski each scored four goals to lead the host Knights (23-6), who led, 8-3. Foothill coach Jim Brumm praised the defense of Grace Pevehouse on Ryann Neushul (one goal) and Brooke Maxson on Abbi Hill. "We played very good defense," Brumm said.

Orange Lutheran 14, Santa Barbara 5: Myna Simmons scored six goals at Santa Barbara to pace the Lancers (24-3), who reached their first semifinal. The Lancers will play San Marcos, who reached their first semifinal with an 8-5 victory against Corona del Mar at Santa Barbara.

San Marcos 8, CdM 5: Sophomore goalie Sophie Trumbull had 12 saves and five steals and Hailey Gellert added three goals at Santa Barbara as the Royals beat the Sea Queens for the fourth time. Jaleh Moaddeli scored twice for CdM (20-8).

In Division 2:

El Toro 12, Agoura 2: Maddy Parenteau scored five goals to lead the host Chargers (21-10), who play Los Osos in the semifinals.

San Clemente 11, Schurr 7: The Tritons (20-11) won at Capistrano Valley to reach the semifinals against No. 1 Murrieta Valley, a 16-10 winner against Dana Hills.

Murrieta Valley 16, Dana Hills 10: Junior Sydney Baba scored six goals, to finish with 135 for the season, but the Dolphins fell to the top-seeded Nighthawks at Aliso Niguel. Morgan Jones had 16 saves for Murrieta Valley while Christina Reyes and Tara Prentice each scored five.

In Division 4:

Mission Viejo 11, Bonita of La Verne 7: Skylar Newhouser-Flores scored five goals and Tiffany Sims made 13 saves at El Toro to lead the Diablos (25-6), who play Riverside Poly for the second straight season in the semifinals.

In Division 3:

Santiago of Corona 11, Troy 8 (OT): The Sharks rallied from a 5-1 deficit early in the third and outscored the Warriors (24-7), 4-1, in overtime at Fullerton College. Santiago (17-13) led, 7-6, with about two minutes left in the fourth but Troy tied the score, 7-7, to force overtime. The Sharks (17-13) scored the first four goals of overtime. Santiago plays top-seeded Arroyo Grande in the semifinals.

In Division 6:

Ocean View 10, Temescal Canyon of Elsinore 4: Center Shannon Graham scored seven goals and Ieva Vaiciunas made 10 saves for the host Seahawks (25-5). The Golden West League champion plays Westridge of Pasadena, a 15-3 winner against Cypress, in the semifinals.

Graham also drew two penalty shots, collected two steals and recorded a field block to help Ocean View reach the semifinals for the fourth straight year.

"I'm excited," the senior said. "We'll have to (play) our best game from here on out."

Attacker Elena Isogawa added three goals and four assists for Ocean View.

Westridge 15, Cypress 3: Lindsey Mizrahi scored twice at Pasadena City College for the visiting Centurions, who had three players, including Sarah Smith, foul out.

Cabrillo of Lompoc 14, Tustin 4: Hannah Binder scored three times for the host Tillers. "Great season," Tustin coach Molly Andrews said. "Next year will be even better."

Santa Monica 17, Segerstrom 0: The host Jaguars trailed the top-seeded team in the division, 5-0, at halftime but the Vikings (27-3) sprinted into the semifinals in the second half. "We're just young," Jaguars coach Tim Fredericksen said.

Division 7:

Hillcrest 10, Santa Ana Valley 3: Sophomore Samantha Martinez made 15 saves for the host Falcons (16-15). Samantha Malouff racked up six goals and eight steals for top-seeded Hillcrest. "She's a beast," Valley coach Peter Sophabmixay said of Malouff, who leads Hillcrest into the semifinals against Malibu.

Foothill Tech 12, Garden Grove 3: Florencia Ferro, Nicolette Janocha and Diana Gomez scored for the host Argonauts. Meagan McKillican had five goals and four steals for No. 2 seed Foothill Tech while goalie Taylor Wreesman made 13 saves. Foothill Tech takes on San Dimas in the semifinals.

Contact the writer: dalbano@ocregister.com


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