Volleyball Coach Departs, Breakers Head to Playoffs

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Girls Volleyball (14-11, 10-0)

Interim coach Matt Malone
Interim coach Matt Malone

In a tumultuous week in girls’ volleyball, the Breakers completed another undefeated league season but dropped a now contested non-league match over an officiating controversy even as the first year coach, Carson Tanner, resigned.

Assistant coach Matt Malone along with JV Coach Joey Pillon and frosh-soph coach Ryan Murphy will complete the season, said Athletic Director Lance Neal, who declined to discuss the reason for Tanner’s departure because it is a personnel matter.

Breakers lost to top-ranked Division 3 Sage Hill last Wednesday, Oct. 19, in a match where an officiating controversy on the final two points resulted in a formal complaint to CIF by Laguna Beach.

With the score tied at 13, the referee ruled Laguna had touched the ball four times when film showed only two touches and interference by the Lightning middle at the net. Both head coaches and players saw the play as a Laguna point, but the referee refused to explain his call. While Coach Tanner was conferring with the umpire regarding the call, the referee called for the serve, which resulted in the match point as the Laguna players were unready. For the match, Lexi McKeown had 18 kills while freshmen Soren Patchell had 16 and freshman Cambria Hall 10.

On Tuesday, Oct. 25, Laguna traveled to San Juan Hills, ranked fourth in Orange County and eighth in Division 1, to face the Stallions and once again were facing the same official that handled the Sage match.

Breakers battled but lost 25-23, 25-20, 25-16 with the final match point scored after a ball was allowed to remain in-play after clearly being returned outside the antenna. McKeown had 12 kills to lead Laguna and the Breakers recorded 10 net blocks to tie the rally scoring era record for a four-set match with Marymount (2005) and Newport Harbor (2013).

In league play, Laguna won their 52nd consecutive match from Estancia (15-7, 4-5) with a 25-16, 25-12, 25-11 win last Thursday, Oct. 20 at Dugger Gym. Lexi McKeown led with 11 kills. On Monday, Oct. 24, the Breakers defeated Calvary Chapel 25-14, 21-25, 25-21, 25-13 with McKeown getting 18 kills and Lucy Fontenot recording 17 kills and six aces. Breakers have won 12 consecutive titles and extended their league match streak to 110, an Orange County record.

CIF pairing will be announced on Friday, Oct. 28 with Laguna’s first match next Tuesday, Nov. 1, at 7 p.m. at Dugger Gym. Unlike previous playoffs, the new power divisions will make every round challenging. Breakers are in Division 2 of 10 CIF divisions.


Boys Sand Volleyball 5-0

Breakers closed out the regular league season on Oct. 20 in Newport with a sweep of Los Alamitos.

# 1 Cole Paxson & Pete Obradovich won 21-16, 21-13.

# 2 Sam Burgi & Ayrton Garcia won 21-19, 16-21, 15-11.

# 3 Josh McManus & Geste Bianchi won 21-7, 22-20.

# 4 Cameron Garcia & Andrew Reavis won 21-17, 21-14.

# 5 Jake Robbins & Jackson Stillwell won 16-21, 21-16, 15-11.

The four-man team of Paxson, Obradovich, Burgi, and McManus won 28-16.

Laguna is seeded second behind Newport Harbor in the playoffs and met the winner of Mater Dei-Los Alamitos. The semi final match is Nov. 1 and the final Nov. 3.


Current OC rankings: 1 – Newport Harbor, 2 – Laguna Beach, 3 – Saddleback Valley Christian, 4 – Huntington Beach, 5 – Corona del Mar, 6 – Dana Hills, 7 – Los Alamitos, 8 – O Lutheran, 9 – Mater Dei, 10 – Crean Lutheran, 11 – J Serra, 12 – San Juan Hills, 13 – Edison. Boys Sand Volleyball is currently fielded at 40 Southern Section schools with just over 100 needed for official CIF playoffs to be held.


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