Laguna Beach ranks among all-time best
Laguna Beach’s girls water polo team had an answer for every opponent this winter, but there is one question about the Breakers that remains:
Are they the best Orange County team ever?
The question was raised a few times Saturday night after Laguna Beach capped a perfect season by defeating Foothill, 11-6, in the CIF-SS Division 1 final at the Woollett Aquatics Center in Irvine.
Foothill coach Jim Brumm said the Breakers (31-0) deserve to be part of the conversation about all-time great teams.
“They’re very, very good team,” Brumm said of the two-time defending Division 1 champions who have won an Orange County-record 52 consecutive matches.
“You got two national team players (Aria and Makenzie Fischer) there. Are they the best team ever?
“Our teams in the 2000s had four national team players. Then you have Dos Pueblos of Goleta with the Neushuls. … But it’s hard to compare.”
Laguna Beach joined Foothill’s 2002-03 squad (30-0) as the only girls water polo teams in county history to finish undefeated. That Foothill team featured five players – goalie Emily Feher, Brittany Hayes, Gabbie Dominic, Jillian Krause and Grace Reynolds – who at least participated in national team training squads, former Foothill coach Dave Mikesell said.
In 2006-07, Foothill finished 33-1, capturing Division 1 and Masters.
“Our teams in 2002-3 and 2006-7 could be considered in that category (of best ever) and the Dos Pueblos teams from 2008-2011 could be up there as well,” Mikesell said. “It would be interesting to see all those squads, including Laguna, play each other with everything being equal.”
Laguna Beach coach Ethan Damato focused Saturday night on teamwork rather than the Breakers’ place in history.
“For me, it’s just about the team,” he said. “There’s a lot of love for certain individuals on our team and they deserve it, for sure, but this is a team.
“This is a full team and we played great defense all year. We played great 5-on-6 defense all year. … I don’t know where we belong in that conversation.”
Damato knew the Breakers belonged after the Division 1 final Saturday.
“Tonight, I feel we’re pretty great,” he said.