The Laguna Beach High girls' soccer team is entering the CIF Southern Section playoffs the way it had hoped and worked hard to achieve: as champion of the Orange Coast League.
Laguna begins its bid for a Division 4 title Friday when it plays host to Ontario Chaffey at 3 p.m. at Guyer Field.
The Breakers, ranked 10th in the division and riding an eight-game unbeaten streak, is 12-5-4 overall.
Chaffey, runner-up to the Mt. Baldy League title, is 9-7-2 overall.
"We are preparing as best as we can for Friday's match with Chaffey," Laguna Coach Bill Rolfing said. "There are always injuries, sicknesses, college trips, ski week and family events that can impact the team this time of year, however, we are in pretty good shape.
"The player dedication is impressive and now is all about match preparation, conditioning and focus."
The Breakers have played with determined focus in the last month to unseat Estancia atop the Orange Coast League standings. This year's league title is only the second in program history.
Chaffey finished a game behind Chino in the Mt. Baldy League.
"Chaffey is out of a good league and their second-place finish is important," Rolfing said. "We will have to be on our game. The plan will be to establish early the Breakers' style of play offensively and apply constant pressure defensively."
Rolfing said the Breakers will be without two starting defenders for Friday's opener.
"Our depth is strong enough to fill in," he said.
Laguna has dropped only two matches in the last two months. A victory Friday by the Breakers would set the all-time program record for wins in a single season.
The winner of the Chaffey-Laguna match advances to a second-round game on Wednesday against either Serrano (Mojave River League champion) or Canyon Springs (Inland Valley League No. 4).
The Breakers, the No. 2 team out of the Orange Coast League and ranked 10th in CIF Southern Section Division 5, played their opening round game of the postseason Thursday at home against Santa Monica Crossroads (Alpha League No. 2).
The score wasn't available at press time.
"The team has definitely grown since our opening nonleague game back in December," Laguna Coach Dan Richards said. "The rate of improvement has been great to see and the boys go into [Thursday's] game with confidence.
"We know that once you get to the playoffs every team is going to be strong and making the most of every situation is key. It was great to get a home draw for the opening game and the lads know they need to take advantage of it."
The winner of the Crossroads-Laguna match advances to a second-round game at 3 p.m. next Tuesday against either seventh-ranked Baldwin Park (Valle Vista League champion) or Arroyo Grande (PAC 7 League No. 3).
The division quarterfinals are Thursday.