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Water Polo

Dos Pueblos Overpowered by No. 1 Laguna Beach in CIF Semifinals

IRVINE — Dos Pueblos was in the game for one period against top-seeded and undefeated Laguna Beach in their CIF-Southern Section Division 1 girls water polo semifinal on Wednesday night at the Woolllett Aquatics Center.

Then the Breakers took control and broke the game open with five unanswered goals in the second period and rolled to a 14-4 victory over the Chargers.

Aria Fischer, a member of the gold-medal winning U.S. women’s water polo team at the Rio Olympics, paced six Laguna Beach scorers with four goals. Bella Baldridge and Sophie Lucas each had three goals and Isabel Riches added two for the 30-0 Breakers, who will face San Marcos for the CIF title on Saturday.

If the offensive onslaught wasn’t enough, Laguna Beach’s Thea Walsh frustrated DP with outstanding goalkeeping. She finished with 11 saves, several coming on well-placed shots by the Chargers. She also stopped a penalty shot in the first period.

Freshman Jewel Roemer managed to get two shots past Walsh. Ryann Neushul and Amelia Meckelborg each added a goal.

Dos Pueblos coach Connor Levoff congratulated Laguna Beach for its impressive performance.

“They played great. Everything they did worked, everything we did they had an answer for,” he said. “And you throw in the really superior players they have like Thea, who was masterful tonight, and Aria, who showed why she did what she did last summer, that’s a lot to handle for us.”

It was 3-1 after the first period. 

“I thought we were weathering the storm,” Levoff said. “We missed an opportunity on the penalty shot and gave up what I thought was a cheap goal at the end of the quarter and it changed things. It could have been 2-2 instead of 3-1. 

“And then the wheels came off our bus for the next 14 minutes.”

DP created a good chance at the start of the second but Walsh made a brilliant save on Toni Shackelford.

That ignited the five-goal onslaught. Laguna also got another good save from Walsh on a Sophie Leggett shot to the lower right corner.

“She was superb tonight,” Levoff said of Walsh. “Our shots that went in were very high level, good shots. Even some of the ones she made saves on were shots that we’re happy with in training, we’re happy with against most goalies but not her tonight.”

The Breakers didn’t let up after halftime, pouring in five more goals.

“They looked pretty finely tuned and ready to move on to Saturday’s games,” said Levoff.

Noozhawk sports editor Barry Punzal can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Follow Noozhawk Sports on Twitter: @NoozhawkSports. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.

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