New Coach Leads Girls Volleyball Team

High school Athletic Director Mike Churchill and newly named volleyball Coach Raul Papaleo.

High school Athletic Director Mike Churchill and newly named volleyball Coach Raul Papaleo.

Professional volleyball player Raúl Papaleo was named coach of Laguna Beach High School’s girls varsity team, Principal Joanne Culverhouse announced Tuesday.

“Raúl’s excellent experience as a player and a coach–and his focus on positive and winning attitudes will build and establish good relationships with our community and our players,” Culverhouse said.

“He has a very impressive resume as a player and coach that is sure to translate into successes on the court,” said Athletic Director Mike Churchill, who is retiring.

Papaleo replaces longtime girls coach Lance Stewart, who resigned last December after previously stepping away from coaching the boys’ high school team. Stewart’s girls’ teams won two section titles and 10 league titles. The 2012 squad went 18-6 in the fall season and ranked in the county’s top-10, losing in the quarterfinals of the playoffs.

Papaleo, a native of Puerto Rico and the son of educators, holds an undergraduate degree in supervision from Purdue University and has 20 years of volleyball experience. He competed on the Puerto Rico national team and its first beach Olympic volleyball team. He is a 2003 Pan American Games bronze medalist and a two-time gold medalist in North Central American and Caribbean Confederation games in ‘03 and ‘08. He was an NCAA all-American and played for four years on the Association of Volleyball Professionals tour. He has experience coaching club, high school and college volleyball teams.

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