Joy Henderson has been sidelined since the beginning of the 2002
prep sports season, but nothing -- nothing -- the Laguna Beach High
sophomore said could keep her from joining her Breakers teammates
The Laguna Beach girls’ volleyball program left en masse Thursday
for the bright lights and big promises of the city of Las Vegas.
Henderson, who has sat out the Breakers first four games of the
season because of an ankle injury, will be back in the starting
lineup this weekend when Laguna Beach participates in the Durango Las
Vegas Tournament, which begins today with pool play.
“I am so excited to be making this trip and to be playing again,”
Henderson said. “This will be a great bonding experience for our
The Breakers might use the getaway weekend to kick start their
The young Laguna Beach squad has lost its first four matches of
the season, most recently, a five-game loss on Tuesday to visiting
Henderson, a 5-foot-7 outside hitter, has been all but relegated
to the bench during that time, forced to play the role of cheerleader
to her teammates, who were taking on an extremely difficult
non-league schedule without her services.
That schedule, in addition to Tuesday’s loss to 2001 Division IIA
runner-up Irvine, included the likes of Division IIAA runner-up
Newport Harbor, Division IA runner-up El Toro, and Division IIA
quarterfinalist Santa Margarita.
The 15-year-old, who played sparingly in a Sept. 19 loss to Santa Margarita, injured her right ankle during practice right before the
start of the school year.
She remembers coming down hard on a teammate’s foot, leaving her
with a very bad sprain.
Henderson was entering the 2002 season as the only returning
player who started much of the 2001 season on a Laguna Beach team
that featured two future NCAA Division I players and was runner up to
the Division IVAA crown.
Chloe Merz, now a junior, was the only other returner with varsity
“I just landed awkwardly and as soon as I came down, I knew it was
bad,” recalled Henderson, who has undergone physical therapy three
times a week since the accident. “I was told that I’d be out of
action from anywhere between two weeks to a month, and it’s now going
on a month.
“It has killed me to be sitting on the bench. I felt completely
helpless. I was doing a lot of cheer-leading, hoping to help out the
team the only way I could. I’m glad to be back.”
Henderson is returning to action today in a Durango Las Vegas
Tournament that Breakers coach Curt Hanson says is “quite
Among the teams in Laguna Beach’s pool is Mater Dei, the defending
Division IIA champion.
“We’re 0-4 and struggling right now, and heading into a very, very
tough tournament,” Hanson said.
Henderson sees the turnaround to the season being team unity.
“I think we’ve struggled a bit because we are playing as
individuals,” she said. “The key for us, I think, is that we need to
play together as a team. This road trip will be good in bringing us