Water polo notes: SoCal Champs don't settle rankings debate


The Irvine Southern California Championships tournament has solved many rankings debates in girls water polo with its position late in the regular season and collection of talented teams.

But in the wake of Laguna Beach’s dominant, 11-3, victory against San Marcos in the finals Saturday, the question of who is No. 1 in CIF-SS Division 1 remained afloat, bobbing tantalizing because top-ranked Orange Lutheran wasn’t in the field.

“I kind of go back and forth,” Laguna Beach coach Ethan Damato said. “It’s tough especially because OLu is not in this tournament. … It’s tough because OLu does have the last win against us. But I also think they were in three tournaments, they won one.

“We were in three, we won two. I think that’s a pretty big statement.”

The two-time defending Division 1 champions also impressed in the SoCal semifinals, defeating Dos Pueblos of Goleta, 10-4.

Orange Lutheran coach Steve Carrera also has been challenged by the rankings. The Lancers beat Laguna Beach in the semifinals of the Santa Barbara tournament last month but earlier fell to the Breakers in a nonleague match.

When asked before the SoCal tournament if Laguna Beach should be No. 1 if the Breakers won the event, Carrera said, “I don’t know if they should. I just know that we have an argument for No. 1. I can’t they shouldn’t. They have a great resume.”

On Monday, the new Division 1 poll featured Laguna Beach first and Orange Lutheran second. …

Cypress’ Sarah Smith set the school single-season scoring record last week in an 8-3 victory against Kennedy. The senior has 93 goals and a school-record 221 career goals for the Centurions, who lead the Empire League. …

The regular season concludes this week with plenty of intrigue. The Golden West and Freeway League are playing league tournaments while Sea View League playoff contenders Capistrano Valley, Laguna Hills and Trabuco Hills could be headed to a coin-flip and playoff. The playoff pairings will be released Saturday at 10 a.m.

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