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LORI SHEPLER, FOR THE ORANGE COUNTY REGISTER
Edison's Risa Burke, right, defends Laguna Beach's Mackenzie Baldridge, left, in the first half at Ocean View High School in a girls high school water polo game on Tuesday night.

Laguna Beach beats No. 10 Edison with late surge

OCVARSITY.COM
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High school water polo.

HUNTINGTON BEACH – Laguna Beach's girls water polo team still wasn't at full strength Tuesday night, but the Breakers showed progress in the closing department.

Sixth-ranked Laguna Beach scored the final two goals for a 10-8 victory against No. 10 Edison in a nonleague match at Ocean View.

The Breakers scored twice in the final 50 seconds to win despite playing without Makenzie Fischer, who recently returned from the FINA youth world championships in Perth, Australia.

Last week, Laguna Beach (2-1) fell short in a 9-8 loss against Santiago of Corona. But against Edison (3-5), hard-shooting sophomore Brighid Burnes snapped an 8-8 tie with her match-high sixth goal with 48 seconds left on the power play.

Mackenzie Baldridge drew the exclusion that led to Burnes' fifth goal on the man-advantage.

Edison called timeout but Baldridge, a senior bound for UCSB, quickly made a steal that sparked a counterattack goal by senior Lexi Del Toro, who made it 10-8 with 27 seconds left.

Laguna Beach goalie Jenna Knott helped lock down the victory by making six saves in the fourth, including a power-play stuff with 5:20 left that sparked a counterattack goal by senior Sydney Saxe.

"Some key plays down the stretch there from some of our seniors to seal it out," Laguna Beach coach Ethan Damato said. "I think that's what we were missing last week against Santiago, so it was nice to see our girls respond this week."

Saxe also contributed by playing 2-meter offense and defense.

"I thought she did a great job (guarding Edison's Melissa) Balding and she was setting on the other side (of the pool)," Damato said.

Burnes supplied the offensive firepower that Fischer was known for last season. She also helped Laguna Beach finish 5 for 9 on the power play.

"She's got a cannon," Damato said of Burnes.

Damato played freshman goalie Holly Parker in the first half and also started freshmen Haley Evans and Natalie Seling in the field.

Edison has newcomers to watch, too. Sabrina Jenson came off the bench to score three goals for Edison from the perimeter in the second half.

"She's never played water polo before in her entire life (until this past spring)," Edison coach Diggy Riley said of Jenson.

First-year starter Josette Santos also blocked a penalty shot with 17 seconds left in the third to preserve a 6-6 tie.

“We have a long way to go but I’m really, really (excited) about this team,” Riley said.

Contact the writer: dalbano@ocregister.com


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