The Darren Utterback era in boys' volleyball at Laguna Beach High was ushered in Tuesday on opening night of the season for the Breakers.
Laguna started its 2014 campaign with a victory over rival Newport Harbor, giving its new head coach a sweep of the visiting Sailors, 25-19, 25-19, 25-21, at Dugger Gym.
Sophomore middle blocker Tyler Alter led Laguna with 11 kills. Junior opposite Jack Burgi had nine kills, senior middle blocker Noah Blanton seven kills, senior outside hitter Alec Wulff nine digs, and senior setter J.P. Wollam had 33 assists.
Clay Carr had a match-best 16 kills for the Sailors, who also opened their season Tuesday.
Utterback was on the Laguna coaching staff last year and served as head coach of the Breakers' boys' junior varsity team, a team that went 21-1 and won the Orange Coast League championship (10-0 record). Prior to Laguna, he coached the boys' program Capistrano Valley Christian for two years (1993-94) and won one league championship, had two stints as head coach of the boys' program at Capistrano Valley (1995-99, winning four league titles in five years; 2006-12 with a league title), and also coached the Capo Valley girls' program from 2004 through last fall.
Utterback's first Laguna team begins the season with a No. 5 ranking in the CIF Southern Section Division 2 preseason rankings.
The Breakers return to the court Tuesday, hosting San Clemente, ranked preseason No. 6 in CIF Southern Section Division 1, in a 5:30 p.m. nonleague match.
Head coach: Darren Utterback (1st year)
Coaching staff: Cole Mortland; Brooke Marino; Mary Luhrs.
2013 record: 17-6
2013 league record: 10-0 (champion)
2013 CIF playoffs: Reached Division 2 quarterfinals
Returning varsity players: Tyler Alter (Soph., MB); Noah Blanton (MB, Sr.); Jack Burgi (OPP, Jr.); Lucas Capobianco (OH, Sr.); Reed Donenfeld (LIB, Jr.); Jake Hexberg (OH, Sr.) J.P. Wollam (S, Sr.); Alec Wulff (OH, Sr.); Jack Wyett (OH, Sr.).
Returning with honors: Noah Blanton (second-team all-league); Jack Wyett (second-team all-league).
Varsity newcomers: Zack Bekken (LIB, Sr.); Cameron dePfyffer (S, Sr.); Adam Lythgoe (OH, Jr.); Nick Rieckoff (OPP, Jr.); Troy Thomas (OH, Sr.); Ben Jones (MB, Jr.); Isaac Wulff (S, Soph.).
Tuesday: San Clemente, 5:30 p.m.
March 15: at Dos Pueblos Tournament
March 18: at Corona del Mar, 5:15 p.m.
March 25: at *Godinez, 5:30 p.m.
March 26: at Edison, 5:30 p.m.
March 27: at *Saddleback, 5:30 p.m.
April 1: *Estancia, 5:30 p.m.
April 8: *Costa Mesa, 5:30 p.m.
April 10: at *Calvary Chapel, 5:30 p.m.
April 22: *Saddleback, 5:30 p.m.
April 24: at *Estancia, 5:30 p.m.
April 25: at Dana Hills, 5:30 p.m.
April 29: *Calvary Chapel, 5:30 p.m.
May 1: *Godinez, 5:30 p.m.
May 2-3: at Redondo Union Tournament
May 6: at *Costa Mesa, 5:30 p.m.
May 7: Esperanza, 5:30 p.m.
(*denotes Orange Coast League game)