Clash of Volleyball Titans


By Brian Lichterman | Newport Indy Sports Editor

No. 13 Maxx McCarter and No. 19 Austin Hillemann put up a block against Irvine during the Breakers’ win last Saturday, May 13.

This Saturday, it’s win or go home for the Corona del Mar and Laguna Beach high school volleyball squads, as the two schools will lock horns in the Southern Section CIF championship game at Cypress College.

This is familiar territory for both schools since they’ve always had terrific volleyball programs dating back to the ’70s.  Several professionals and Olympic athletes have emerged from these schools and everybody who knows the game of volleyball has the utmost respect for these teams.

So Saturday’s game will be a clash of the titans.

The Laguna Beach Breakers are the defending Southern Section champs.  They were tested in their path to this year’s championship game, but like all great teams, they put together a magnificent season and are back in the big game once again.

After dropping the first game to Beckman in their semi-final matchup, the Breakers went on a tear winning the next three games to advance to their second final in as many years.  Impressively, the win is Laguna’s 13th straight playoff win dating back to last year.  Senior opposite hitter Robbie McKnight took the wheel in the match and Laguna coasted to the victory.

Corona del Mar’s semi-final match didn’t have any opening game drama, but their three-game sweep of Trabuco was equally impressive.  The Mustangs were outmatched from the beginning, scoring only 16 points in the first game and only managing to put up 13 points in the final game of the match. The Sea Kings keyed in on two of Trabuco’s most talented strikers and effectively shut them down. The CdM blockers did their job, while Parker Brown and Brennan Anderson dealt out the damage – they led the Sea Kings in kills.

Laguna Beach and Corona del Mar are very familiar with each other.  Their history and rivalry go back decades. The two schools have had decorated pasts and this will be – wait for it – the schools’ 52nd best-of-five meeting, with the Breakers leading the all-time series 29-22.  They’ve met seven times in the playoffs, with CdM holding a 4-3 edge in those matchups, but never before met in the final.

The schools are tied with six CIF titles, and Saturday’s “Goliath vs. Goliath” matchup will break that tie.  Be there at 4 p.m. to watch the Breakers and Sea Kings vie for the CIF Southern Section Division 2 title.


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