GRIFFIN SPORTS: Girls Water Polo atop Surf League after 3 OT win over Newport Harbor

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The Los Alamitos girls water polo team (15-5, 3-0), No. 3 in Orange County, scored twice in the final 2 1/2 minutes of regulation to tie No 2 Newport Harbor (16-4, 2-2) at 7-7, and then used a power-play goal in triple sudden death overtime to down the Sailors in a Surf League thriller Thursday night at Newport Harbor High.

The winning goal was scored by sophomore attacker Cici DeLuca with 1:39 left in triple sudden-death overtime to cap off the Griffin comeback. Deluca, the daughter of former Los Alamitos standout goalie Jackie Frank (also an All-American at UCLA and the goalie on the first US Womens water polo squad in 2000), scored off an assist by UCLA-bound senior Olivia Ouellette, who took a pass from UC Santa Barbara-bound senior Isabel Valaika.

The win capped a good week for Los Al which on Tuesday defeated No. 4 Laguna Beach 12-8 for their first victory against the Breakers (11-6, 2-1) since they entered the Surf League. Los Alamitos completed the first round of the Surf League on Thursday in first place. The win also provided some sweet revenge as just five days earlier Newport Harbor downed Los Al in the semi-finals of the Santa Barbara Tournament of Champions. The Surf League provided three of the four finalists at the tournament.

Orange Lutheran is the Register’s No. 1 ranked team but their struggles in recent matches begs the question: How much parity is there in the race for the CIF-SS Open Division crown? Last year Newport Beach defeated Los Al and dominated everyone else en route to a title, but most coaches agree that this year the parity is there, and the recent scores bear this out.

Los A returns to action this week

Girls Soccer getting hot and healthy at right time

The Griffins girls soccer squad improved its overall record to 12-8-4 with a wins last week over Edison and Foutain Valley. The Edison win gave the Lady Griffins a 2-1 mark in Surf league play.

Los Al, who have been forced to play a lot of freshman and sophomores, seems to be getting healthy and experienced at the right time of the season, as they head into the final two weeks of the regular season. Fortunately, they returned a few seniors that helped the team get to the CIF-SS Division 1 semifinals last year — Kaylee Noble, Sanaa Guyness and Katie Piper. Injured team captain, midfielder Alexa Webber, is expected back for the stretch run.

The Griffins, who finished the 2022 part of their season with a 7-7-3 record have found 2023 more to their liking, going 5-1-1 this year. After finishing their cross conference play with a match against Fountain Valley on Tuesday, they return to Surf League play with a home match against Newport Harbor on Thursday. They then finish the season the following week with a showdown at Huntington Beach and the season finale home match against Edison. Huntington Beach (18-2-1) handed Los Al its only Surf League loss on January 12, downing the Griffins 2-1 in a close affair.

In other girls soccer news senior midfielder Bailey Nadell committed to play for the Sonoma State Seawolves next season. Nadell plays for Slammers in the club season. And Junior defender Samantha Arce, another Slammer, has been invited to the training camp for the El Salvador womens national team.

Girls Basketball falls to Corona, but rallies to edge Edison

The Los Al Girls Basketball team improved their season record to 16-9 overall after edging Edison 46-44 Thursday night at Edison. The win earned a split for the week after Corona Del Mar ended the Griffins seven game win streak last Tuesday, handing the Griffins their only Surf League setback 41-35. CDM now sits atop the Surf League with a 3-0 mark, with Los Al right behind at 2-1.

Los Al completes its cross-conference schedule with a home match against Huntington Beach on Tuesday, then startb the second round of Sur League play with another home match against Edison. They finish their league season on the road next week at Fountain Valley and Corona Del Mar.

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