Needing a strong close to the first half of Orange Coast League play, the Laguna Beach High boys' soccer team accomplished just that by turning in a pair of big performances to keep its title hopes alive.
The Breakers earned their third OCL victory Wednesday and closed out the opening round of league action by taking a 4-2 victory from visiting Costa Mesa at Guyer Field. The Breakers scored the final three goals of the opening half to take a 3-1 lead at the break and went on to run their league record to 3-1-1, and went above .500 for the season at 6-5-2.
The performance followed a scoreless tie the Breakers played top-ranked Godinez to Jan. 24.
"We played some very good stuff [Wednesday], controlling the majority of the game and deserved the victory," Laguna Coach Dan Richards said. "Apart from a couple of sloppy mistakes on our end, Costa Mesa had trouble creating chances against us and we looked a threat whenever we went forward.
"It was great to see us create some very good goal scoring opportunities throughout the encounter and we really should have been more clinical to put the game to bed more comfortably."
After falling behind, 1-0, the Breakers drew even on a goal by sophomore Eddie Willette. They went in front for good when junior Willy Wheeler scored, a goal set up by the field work of senior Chris Tellez, and extended their lead to 3-1 on junior Harrison Gregory's goal.
Junior Tommy Ressler scored in the second half for Laguna which had missed out on a few scoring opportunities in the second half that could have further extended the lead.
"This was a great result for the boys and puts them firmly in the title race at the halfway stage of league," Richards said.
In a previous league game Jan. 24, Laguna and Godinez played to a scoreless tie Jan. 24 at Centennial Park in Santa Ana. The Grizzlies were the top-ranked team in CIF Southern Section Division 5.
"This was a fantastic result for the boys with them showing real heart and determination to come away with a point," Richards said. "You can easily see why Godinez is the No. 1-ranked team for our division and has been unbeaten all season so far."
The result dropped Godinez to No. 3 in this week's Division 5 poll.
Laguna travels Friday for a 5 p.m. game at Estancia. The Breakers are home to Saddleback Tuesday and Thursday to Godinez. Both matches begin at 6:30 p.m. at Guyer Field.
The Breakers overcame a lineup hit by injury and illness to collect two shutout victories in Orange Coast League play.
Laguna on Tuesday shut down visiting Costa Mesa and took a 3-0 victory at Guyer Field. The Breakers pulled away from a 1-0 halftime lead to win their third league contest. They ended the first half of league play with a 3-1-1 record, good for second place.
The Breakers improved to 8-5-3 overall.
Having been thwarted on several early scoring attempts, the Breakers finally cracked the scoreboard when freshman Christine Johnson received a perfectly placed ball from senior midfielder Johana Abarca, and scored off a rebound in the 35th minute.
Laguna continued to pressure the Costa Mesa goal in the second half and in the 60th minute, senior forward Katelyn Carballo struck a low shot that went inside the left post for a 2-0 lead. Ten minutes later, a Carballo corner kick was headed into the Mesa net by sophomore center player Summer Stanaland.
Laguna played Tuesday's match without three starting defenders plus keeper Kylie George. Coach Bill Rolfing said his reshuffled lineup "stepped up well" behind goalie Kara Dunne-Dombrink.