What a way to start a new league season.
Laguna Beach High's boys' soccer team launched Orange Coast League play at Guyer Field Wednesday and recorded a big victory as the Breakers shut down visiting Saddleback, 3-0.
Laguna, ranked No. 10 in CIF Southern Section Division 5, took a 1-0 halftime lead and went on to win its sixth game.
Saddleback, the No. 3 team in Division 5, won the OCL title a year ago.
"We knew playing the defending league champs was not going to be easy and Saddleback showed why they have been ranked so high so far this year," Laguna Coach Dan Richards said. "They always have a strong program and do a great job of competing with the top schools every year.
"The lads knew they would have to play with a lot of discipline defensively to keep Saddleback out, but knew we always have the talent going forward to score. I thought the defense did a fantastic job and Bryce [Williamson] made some important stops in goal. We had worked on our team defending the night before at practice which is an area we have, and will, continually re-visit in order to be successful this year."
Williamson registered 12 saves and Willy Wheeler, Chris Tellez and Jake Hexberg scored for the Breakers, who are 6-0-2 overall.
"Overall, this was a great result and way to kick league off," Richards said. "With a league as strong as ours, every point matters and we know that this result will mean nothing if we don't focus and get the job done in the upcoming games."
Laguna previously had played visiting Woodbridge to a 2-2 standstill on Jan. 4. Reece Barton converted a penalty kick and Harrison Gregory also scored for the Breakers.
"The team showed great character to get a goal back after going behind [2-1] with a great finish from Harrison [Gregory]," Richards said. "The team hasn't lacked fight so far this year and it was great to see players step up and contribute with so many starters unavailable to play."
The Breakers travel Friday for a 6:30 p.m. league game at Estancia. The Eagles dropped their league opener Wednesday, 1-0, to Costa Mesa.
Next week, Laguna plays host to Calvary Chapel at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday.
A young Breakers team also started its Orange Coast League season this week. On Tuesday, the Breakers were edged, 1-0, by visiting Saddleback at Guyer Field.
Laguna outshot the Roadrunners, 12-3. Two shots on goal bounced off the bar. The Breakers also had an apparent score wiped off on an offsides call, and also missed a penalty shot.
"Controlling the midfield and establishing a passing game can be pretty, but it must also be effective," Laguna Coach Bill Rolfing said. "Tonight was a lesson learned in regards to finishing the opportunities on goal."
The Laguna girls' team took on Breakers players of the past Saturday, and edged the alumni team, 2-1, in the program's annual event at Guyer Field.
Johana Abarca and Janie Crawford (penalty kick) scored goals, and sophomore Kylie George manned the cage for the varsity team. Sarah Appel scored on a penalty kick in the final minute of the game for the alumni team.
The alumni team featured present and past college-level player including, Clair Rubel, Alex Degarmo, Christina Gardilcic, Sarah Appel, Madeleine Arterburn, Victoria and Christina French, Jackie Csira, Ally Manfrini, Caroline Cannan, Sasha Speare, Wesley Hamchuk and Ryan Bakkum.
Current varsity assistant coaches, Courtney Hamchuk (alumni) and Amanda Sylvia (varsity) also played in the game, which was officiated by a local AYSO crew.
The Laguna boys' team battled the alumni team on Dec. 28 at Guyer Field. The game featured 17 players from six graduating classes.
Taking part for the varsity were: Adam Farsheed, Eddie Willette, Grifan Fair, Willy Wheeler, Evan Williams, Harrison Gregory, Bryce Williamson. Jake Kunkel, Reece Barton and Coach Dan Richards.
The alumni team was: Max Cano (2011), Miguel Jaimes ('12), Johnny Vasquez ('08), Vinny Cano ('11), Christian Albarran ('11), Morgan Curry ('11), Edgar Rabadan ('09), Brogan O'Bryan ('12), Sheldon Eaton ('08), Thomas Neptune ('99), Pearce Neal ('12), Miles Shirley ('12), Alec Williams ('12), Joseph Rousseau ('12), Ian Greene ('11), Tristan Bauer ('06), and Chris Ramirez ('09).