Reaching the midway point of the Orange Coast League boys' volleyball race seemed like a quick sprint for the Laguna Beach Breakers.
The defending champions, ranked third in CIF Southern Section Division 2, strengthened their bid toward earning a repeat title April 10 by getting a sweep at Calvary Chapel. The Breakers trailed early in each of the final two sets, but still came away with a 25-14, 25-20, 25-20 victory over the Eagles.
Coach Darren Utterback said his team received a "good league test" from the Eagles, and the win put the Breakers at 5-0 with five league contests remaining.
"I thought Calvary was a good challenge for us," Utterback said. "We were tested and Calvary has some players who did a great job."
Following a comfortable, 25-14 win in the opening set, Laguna and Calvary Chapel, led by the play of outside hitter Phillip Schick, were deadlocked at 14-14 in the second set. A kill by Laguna outside hitter Jack Wyett ignited a 4-0 run that took the Breakers (9-3 overall) to an 18-14 lead. They would lead by no less than two points the remainder of the set en route to a 25-20 win.
Schick sparked Calvary Chapel (12-3 overall, 2-1 league) to a 16-14 lead in the third set, but the Breakers again used a 4-0 run to go in front for good. A kill by Wyett gave the Breakers their first lead at 17-16. A kill straight down the middle later by middle blocker Noah Blanton delivered match point.
Wyett had 18 kills and 10 digs, Blanton 10 kills, Jack Burgi eight kills, Alec Wulff 20 assists, and Cameron DePfyffer 15 assists for the Breakers who have won 131 consecutive sets in league play.
"I'm happy that we are 5-0 in league, but I am always looking at where we can be, as a team," Utterback said. "We're still testing things out on the court but I see progress and we are getting better in different situations."
Laguna returns to the court next week and has three games on tap. The Breakers play host to league foe Saddleback at 5:30 p.m. Tuesday and travel for a 5:15 p.m. league game at Estancia Thursday. They play a 5:30 p.m. nonleague game at Dana Hills April 25.
Track & Field
Three Laguna Beach girls' relay teams and one boys' relay team earned placements at the 47th annual Arcadia Invitational.
The prestigious, two-day event, started April 11 and ended Saturday .
In the Women's Distance Medley Relay (Section 1), Laguna's team of Coco Putnam, Janie Crawford, Pearl Shoemaker and Brielle Budroe, turned in a team time of 12 minutes 58.22 seconds, which earned the Breakers a 17th-place finish. Claremont won the relay in 12:26.62.
Crawford, Budroe, Natalie Kimball and Callista Helms, ran a 9:44.71 to take 11th in the Women's 4 x 800 Meter Relay Seeded (Section 1). Valencia West Ranch won the event in 9:30.59.
In the Women's 4 x 1,600 Meter Relay Seeded, Crawford, Shoemaker, Brenna Merchant and Kirsten Landsiedel, turned in a time of 21:05.88, good for 13th-place. Claremont took the race in 21:05.88.
The Laguna boys' foursome of Cameron Zuziak, Drake Butler, Casey Koprowski and Penn Nielson, ran an 11:04.00 and finished in 32nd-place in the Men's Distance Relay (Section 1). San Diego Westmont won the event in 10:25.19.
The Laguna girls' and boys' teams return to the track Thursday at home against Godinez in a 3 p.m. Orange Coast League meet, which is their final regular season league meet.
The Breakers played two matches prior to breaking for spring break, and collected two victories.
In an Orange Coast League match April 10, Laguna opened up the second-half of league play with a 17-1 victory over visiting Saddleback.
Laguna Coach Don Davis said the Breakers "shined" in singles and doubles play.
"We completely controlled the match," said Davis whose team stayed atop the league standings at 5-0, and improved to 8-5 overall.
In a nonleague match April 9, the Breakers defeated Laguna Hills, 12-6. Adrien Azera (6-4, 6-0, 6-0), Ryan Gee (7-5, 6-0, 6-0) and Zack Washer (6-2, 6-2, 6-0) swept in singles play for the Breakers to highlight the win.
Both Azera and Gee will compete next week at the Ojai Tennis Tournament. The event, in its 114th year, starts Wednesday and runs through April 27.
Davis said Azera and Gee, the latter playing a second time at Ojai, will play doubles.
"It is a great honor to play in Ojai, as the tournament has such a rich history," Davis said. "Additionally, the interscholastic division is highly competitive, with acceptance into the draw, even more difficult than qualifying for CIF individuals."
The Breakers, idle this week, return to Orange Coast League play Tuesday for a 3:15 p.m. Orange Coast League match at Estancia.
The Breakers took on Calvary Chapel April 9, their final match before spring break, and dropped a 196-227 decision to the Eagles at Aliso Viejo Country Club.
John Grayden had a top score of 38 for Laguna, which fell to 2-9.
The Breakers return to the links Tuesday when they take on Estancia in a 2:30 p.m. Orange Coast League match at Ben Brown Golf Course.
Laguna Beach's Noah Blanton scored two points Saturday (for the South, which took a 72-68 victory from the North in the 49th Orange County North-South Senior All-Star boys' game at Concordia University in Irvine.
The South's Devonte Klines (Santa Margarita) was the game's top scorer with 15 points. Riley Kemmer (El Dorado) led the North with 10 points.
In the girls' game, the first of the two All-Star games Saturday at Concordia, Abby Conklin scored a team-high 18 points for the South, which defeated the North, 73-68. The North's Courtney Vaccher (Yorba Linda) led all players with 19 points and 14 rebounds.
Blanton, MVP of the Orange Coast League, was named last month to the All-CIF Southern Section Division 4AA boys' team. His Laguna teammate and fellow senior, Alec Wulff, also an all-league player for the Breakers, was named to the 4AA Second Team.
CIF Weekly Rankings
Boys' Volleyball: Laguna Beach (No. 3, Division 4).