A fast start left little doubt Wednesday that the Laguna Beach High girls' water polo team was on its way to another big Orange Coast League victory.
The Breakers gave up a first-quarter goal to host Estancia but then shut out the Eagles the remainder of the way, and rolled to a 23-1 victory. Makenzie Fischer and Ally Jochim both scored four goals and Lexi Del Toro and Sydney Saxe each scored three goals, to pace the offensive output.
Laguna, ranked sixth in CIF Southern Section Division 1, improved to 3-0 in league and clinched another OCL championship. The Breakers are 13-6 overall.
"The girls came out extremely sharp in the first half," Laguna Coach Ethan Damato said. "They were swimming hard and moving the ball well on the counter. It was fun to watch and it looked like the girls were having fun, playing creatively and being very unselfish all game.
"I was especially impressed with the girls who came off the bench. Ally Jochim had a great day and guarded their top scorer. Haley Evans, Daniela Lucidi and Kate Magnusson also played very well on both ends of the pool."
The performance came five days after the Breakers suffered a tough defeat. In a nonleague game Jan. 18 at Foothill, the co-No.1 team with Santa Barbara in Division 1, the Breakers were edged in overtime by the Knights, 9-8.
Laguna trailed, 7-3, at the half, but went on a 5-0 run in the second half to take the lead with under two minutes left in regulation.
Three of Laguna's six losses this year are to Foothill. The Knights had previously defeated the Breakers by scores of 9-5 and 13-6 in tournament games.
"I thought there were some great things that came out of the Foothill loss," Damato said. "When we went down 7-3 at half, I wasn't quite sure how we would respond. We came out in the third [quarter] determined to get back in the game, and we did.
"I thought our girls showed a ton of character and had a chance to beat the No. 1 team in the final minutes. That's exactly where we want to be in those types of game. Next time, we have to finish the job. Hopefully we proved to ourselves that we can beat anyone."
The Breakers face another stiff Division 1 nonleague challenge Friday when they play host to third-ranked Newport Harbor at 3:30 p.m. They start play Thursday at the Irvine SoCal Championship Tournament.
"Newport is a very disciplined and well-coached team that plays very well together," Damato said. "They don't make a lot of mistakes and they won't beat themselves. If we want to win Friday we will need to come out sharp and be ready to play four quarters of good water polo. If we do that, we will have our chances and be right there in the final minutes.
"I'm excited to get another quality game under our belts and another challenge for our girls. We will be fired up and ready to go, you can count on that."
Friday: Newport Harbor, 3:30 p.m.
Thursday-Feb. 2: at Irvine SoCal Championships
Feb. 6: Godinez, 3:15 p.m.
Feb. 8: at El Toro, 3:30 p.m.