A fast start that led to an eventual sweep Tuesday has propelled the Laguna Beach High boys' volleyball team forward in postseason competition.
The Breakers won their CIF Southern Section Division 2 opener at Dugger Gym by defeating Corona Santiago, 25-15, 25-18, 25-17. The win advanced the Breakers, the No. 2 seed behind Esperanza in the division, to a second-round match Thursday against South Torrance (Pioneer League No. 2) which won the Division 3 title a year ago.
The score from Thursday's match wasn't available at press time. The winner moves on to the quarterfinals at 7 p.m. Saturday to meet the winner of the second-round match between Foothill and Claremont.
Laguna, 18-8 overall, got up early on Santiago and established control of the match. The Breakers went on to defeat the Sharks (13-16-1, Big VIII League No. 3) for the second straight year in the playoffs.
Laguna advanced past the first round of the playoffs for the 36th time in the 40-year history of the tournament. The Breakers improved to 88-33 all-time in the playoffs.
"We came out and played pretty consistently," Laguna Coach Scott Panaro said. "We jumped on them right from the start in Game 1 and sustained that energy pretty much throughout. I thought we really played good, efficient volleyball."
Junior outside hitter Jack Wyett led the Breakers in kills (10) and digs (five). Senior outside hitter Weston Barnes finished with nine kills and four digs, and senior setter Grifan Fair had 31 set assists.
Panaro also had the opportunity to work Nick Rieckhoff, Adam Lythgoe, Troy Thomas, Zack Bekken and Cameron dePyffer, members of Laguna's junior varsity team who were called up to varsity for the postseason, into different rotations throughout the match.
"The thing that impressed me about the game, was our team dynamic," Panaro said. "Our guys played with a lot of excitement for each other. The win was a collective effort."
Both the Laguna girls' and boys' teams captured Orange Coast League championships at the league finals meet May 2 at Costa Mesa High.
The Laguna girls won the title with 611 points. Godinez (335) was second, Costa Mesa (308) third, Estancia (271) fourth, Calvary Chapel (233) fifth, and Saddleback (150) was sixth.
The Laguna boys scored 587 points to win its title. Costa Mesa (434.50) was second, Calvary Chapel (347) third, Godinez (283) fourth, Saddleback (175.50) fifth, and Estancia (32) was sixth.
Lila Vera won two events (200-yard individual medley, 100 butterfly) in the girls' final, and Erik Juliusson won both the 200 IM and 500 freestyle, and swam a leg on Laguna's 200 medley relay and 400 free relays that both won titles in the boys' competition.
Laguna athletes won league titles in the following girls' events: 200 medley relay (Abby Cohn, Jenna Knott, Natalie Selin, Maggie Renner, 2:01.82); Makenzie Fischer (200 free, 1:59.50); Lila Vera (200 IM, 2:12.98, and 100 butterfly, 57.65); MacKenzie Baldridge (500 free, 5:32. 97); Abby Cohn (100 breaststroke, 1:12.26); 200 free relay (Lexi Del Toro, Fischer, Sydney Saxe, Faith Hale, 1:42.12); 400 free relay (Del Toro, Saxe, Hale, Fischer, 3:44.37).
Laguna athletes won league titles in the following boys' events: 200 medley relay (Juliusson, Caleb Scott, Cameron Karkosa, Max Morgan, 1:43.69); Max Morgan (200 free, 1:50.47); Erik Juliusson (200 IM, 1:54.96, and 500 free, 4:37.22); Cameron Karkosa (100 breaststroke, 1:00.94); 400 free relay (Karkosa, Cade Baldridge, Morgan, Juliusson, 3:18.67).
The CIF Southern Section Swimming and Diving prelims and finals are taking place this week at the Riverside Aquatics Complex in Riverside.
Track & Field
The Laguna girls' won a team championship, the boys' team finished in second place, and several Breakers claimed individual event titles May 2 at the Orange Coast League finals at Estancia High.
The Laguna girls won the league crown with a team score of 162 (15 events scored). Godinez finished in second (140) followed by Estancia (64), Costa Mesa (42), Saddleback (30) and Calvary Chapel (18).
The Laguna boys posted a team score of 154 (16 events scored) and was edged for the team title by Godinez, which finished first with 158.80 points. Costa Mesa (59) was third, Saddleback (44.50) fourth, Calvary Chapel (42) fifth, and Estancia (3) sixth.
The CIF Southern Section Division 4 prelims are Saturday at Carpinteria High. The division finals are May 18 at Mt. San Antonio College in Walnut.
Individually for Laguna, Janie Crawford and Coco Putnam both won two league titles. Crawford, a sophomore, took the girls' 1,600-meter run in 5 minutes 19.66 seconds, and the girls' triple jump at 34-feet, 6 inches. Crawford also finished second (26.29) in the girls' 200-meter dash. Putnam, a freshman, won the girls' 400 in 1:00.20, and the girls' 300 hurdles in 46.75.
Other Breakers to capture individual league event titles were:
Girls: Brielle Budroe. (800-meter run, 2:21.10); Rose Niermeijer. (long jump, 14-11); Monica White, (high jump, 4-10).
Boys: Spencer Anderson. (300-meter hurdles, 41.70); Drake Martinez (200-meter dash, 22.53); Avery Crowl. (triple jump, 40-11); Kailar Pike (high jump, 6-0); Nathan Lancaster (shotput, 43-1).
The girls' 4x400 meter relay team won the event in 4:08.64.