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Laguna Beach clear of penalties after intense CIF victory

STAFF WRITER

No Laguna Beach boys water players or coaches have been suspended for Wednesday's CIF-SS Division 2 semifinal after their intense quarterfinal against Hoover was halted early by referees and drew police to the pool.

The Breakers haven’t been disciplined from their quarterfinal Saturday night but four Hoover players received misconduct penalties and were ejected, said Thom Simmons, director of communications for the Southern Section.

“I’ve seen the video tape, and if you watch the video tape, you see the Laguna kids -- they’ve got their hands in the air even as they’re being assaulted,” Simmons said Monday afternoon. “They’re trying to tread water at the same time.”

The match, won by Laguna Beach, 13-11, at Burbank High School, was stopped by officials with about 26 seconds left in the fourth period. Hoover coach Kevin Witt said late Saturday night that referees halted the game because players on both sides were playing overly aggressive.

Laguna Beach athletic director Lance Neal said the match was stopped with the Breakers (20-9) in possession of the ball, leading by two goals.

“None of our guys were ejected,” Neal said. “Nobody associated with our program was tagged with any discipline. Laguna Beach High School was very proud of the way our staff and our athletes handled the adversity of the night. ... It had been a very physical game all game long.

"There was a high-level of frustration amongst people at the game and that frustration just boiled over to a point where the officials felt like it was better to end the game.”

When asked if any Laguna Beach players were injured in the match, Neal said, “It was typical for a very physical water polo game. It’s a contact sport. Nothing out of the ordinary.”

Laguna Beach, the top seed in Division 2, plays Murrieta Valley in the semifinals Wednesday night at 6:30 at the William Woollett Jr. Aquatics Center in Irvine.  

Calls to Hoover administrators weren’t immediately returned Monday afternoon or Tuesday morning.

Burbank police said Monday that it responded to a disturbance call Saturday around 7:20 p.m. from the game but didn’t file a report.

“The call was an assist, basically, to assist school staff with unruly students and parents,” Sgt. D. Green of Burbank police said. “There was no report generated or a crime.”

There was a media report on the match that included allegations that racist remarks were made against Hoover players.

“We have no proof of that,” Simmons said.

Said Neal, "I haven't found any evidence to support that."

Contact the reporter: dalbano@scng.com


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