The first year under the watch of Raul Papaleo turned out to be another successful season for the Laguna Beach High girls' volleyball program.
A league championship, another trip to the CIF Southern Section playoffs, is what the Breakers earned in 2013.
Several key performers from that team are back and ready to continue on with program's winning tradition.
Papaleo begins his second year as head coach with a team that gained valuable experience last year, plus the return of a key player who missed the 2013 season.
Six all-Orange Coast League players are back from a 20-10 team that reached the CIF-SS Division 2 playoffs.
"I think we have a really good group," Papaleo said. "I thought last year we did well, and we were a young team. At one point, we were playing five sophomores.
"This team gained a lot of playing experience last year. We're still working on several things leading up to the season, and we're still putting the pieces together. I think, though, that this team has the potential to have a great season."
Ten players return from last year's team, among them, first-team all-OCL selections Sabrina Stillwell, Aspen Rocha and Cameron Dorn, plus second-team all-league selections in Francie Holte, Sage Patchell and Kelsey Paul.
In addition to the return of varsity veterans Danielle Quirarte, Charlotte Andrews and Katelyn Carballo, the Breakers also get back Briana Boyd, who missed the 2013 season due to an ACL injury.
Boyd recovered from ACL surgery and played during the spring on Laguna's first sand volleyball team that was coached by Papaleo.
"We have a lot of talent on this team, and it's great to get Briana back," Papaleo said. "We are strong on the left side and the right side. Briana Boyd gives us more stability in the setting position. She was one of our best beach volleyball players last year. But, we are still trying to identify who our middles are going to be."
New to the program this year is transfer Jamie Robbins, a 6-foot-1 junior setter/right side hitter from Torrey Pines High.
Laguna faces a challenging schedule during the first month of the season. In their first two games, the Breakers open at Santa Margarita Thursday and play Sept. 9 at Corona del Mar.
September also includes a Sept. 11 home opener against JSerra, plus appearances at the Dave Mohs Tournament and Las Vegas Durango Fall Classic.
The month ends with nonleague games against San Juan Hills, the team that knocked off the Breakers in the second-round of the CIF-SS Division 2 playoffs last year, and Dana Hills.
The Breakers defeated Santa Margarita and JSerra a year ago.
"It's a couple of tough weeks to open the season," Papaleo said. "Santa Margarita's a tough opener, and we get Dana Hills later. We play a lot of games in a short period of time."
2014 Laguna Beach Girls' Volleyball
League: Orange Coast
CIF division: Division 2
Head coach: Raul Papaleo (2nd year)
2013 record: 20-10 overall; 10-0 league (champion)
2013 CIF results: Reached second round Division 2 playoffs.
Returning varsity players: Sabrina Stillwell, OH/OPP, Sr.; Briana Boyd, S, Sr.; Francie Holte, L, Sr.; Danielle Quirarte, MB/OPP, Sr.; Charlotte Andrews, MB, Sr.; Aspen Rocha, OH/S, Jr.; Cameron Dorn, OPP/MB, Jr.; Sage Patchell, OH/S, Jr.; Kelsey Paul, MB/OH, Jr.; Katelyn Carballo, L/OH/DS, Jr.
Returning with honors: Sabrina Stillwell (first-team all league); Aspen Rocha (first-team all-league); Cameron Dorn (first-team all-league); Francie Holte (second-team all-league); Sage Patchell (second-team all-league); Kelsey Paul (second-team all-league).
Varsity newcomers: Alexandra McKeown, MB/OPP, Fr., Katie Gavin, L/DS, Soph., Cassidy Vida, OH, Jr.; Jamie Robbins, S/OPP, Jr.
Thursday: at Santa Margarita, 5:15 p.m.
Sept. 9: at Corona del Mar, 5:15 p.m.
Sept. 11: JSerra, 5:30 p.m.
Sept. 12-15: at Dave Mohs Tournament
Sept. 19-20: at Durango Fall Classic
Sept. 23: San Juan Hills, 5:15 p.m.
Sept. 30: at Dana Hills, 6 p.m.
Oct. 2: at *Costa Mesa, 5:15 p.m.
Oct. 7: *Saddleback, 5:15 p.m.
Oct. 9: at *Estancia, 5:15 p.m.
Oct. 10: Alumni game, TBA
Oct. 13: *Calvary Chapel, 5:15 p.m.
Oct. 15: at *Godinez, 5:15 p.m.
Oct. 21: *Costa Mesa, 5:15 p.m.
Oct. 23: at *Saddleback, 6 p.m.
Oct. 28: *Estancia, 5:15 p.m.
Oct. 30: at *Calvary Chapel, 5:30 p.m.
Nov. 4: *Godinez, 5:15 p.m.
Nov. 5: at Sage Hill, 5:15 p.m.
(*denotes league game)