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Girls' Water Polo: Newport takes second behind Breakers

Sailors, who have never won tournament, fall to Laguna in title game. Goalies Harrington, Kapana on all-tournament team.

January 19, 2014|By Matt Szabo

SANTA BARBARA — Two of the best junior girls' water polo players in CIF were just a couple of feet apart late Saturday afternoon at Santa Barbara High, and it was fun to watch.

Newport Harbor goalie Carlee Kapana had an answer to back-to-back shots from point-blank range from Laguna Beach junior Makenzie Fischer. Kapana made two impressive stops, blocking each one late in the third quarter.

The problem was, the Breakers already were up by four goals. And when Fischer scored on a perfectly executed lob from the left side a quarter later, all Newport Harbor Coach Bill Barnett could do was pull half of his regulars from the game.

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Top-seeded Laguna Beach was on its way to a 9-5 victory in the Santa Barbara Tournament of Champions title match. The Breakers were able to do what the Sailors still never have, capturing their first TOC title in program history.

Barnett named his two goalkeepers, Harvard-bound senior Cleo Harrington and Kapana, to the all-tournament team. Splitting time all weekend, they both had outstanding tournaments. But this was Laguna's tournament. Fischer, who scored five goals in the final, earned tournament MVP honors. She was joined on the all-tournament team by her freshman sister, Aria.

Newport Harbor, which did defeat rival CdM, 7-3, in a tournament semifinal earlier Saturday, still has never won the 15th annual tournament. The Sailors have finished in second place a mind-boggling nine times, including four times in the past five years.

The first half was the Sailors' undoing in the final. Makenzie Fischer scored three goals as the Breakers stormed to a 6-0 halftime advantage.

"That was embarrassing," Newport senior Christina O'Beck said. "We had no offense. They were completely shutting us down. Our first line was at like half [tank], and that's something we need to improve on."

Laguna Beach, which won the Holiday Cup two weeks ago for the first time in program history, added another huge tournament win. The Sailors did rally a bit in the third quarter. A goal from junior lefty Ellie Reid from six meters, followed by a lob goal by junior Kate Pipkin, brought the Sailors within 7-4 entering the fourth quarter.

But they could not get closer.

"I thought we did a great job pressing, fronting, and the girls really worked together well on defense," Laguna Beach Coach Ethan Damato said. "We were just controlling the tempo of the game."

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