In a showdown Wednesday between the top two ranked teams in CIF-Southern Section Division II-AA, top-ranked Laguna Beach traveled to Corona del Mar to face the second-ranked Sea Kings and dropped a 25-20, 20-25, 25-11, 25-22 match.
Laguna played the match without 6-foot-3 senior middle blocker Zoe Garrett who is playing for the U.S. National Team in the Azteca Cup in Monterrey, Mexico this week.
Junior outside hitter Dana Hutchison had 18 kills, senior setter Mychaela Miller eight kills and sophomore setter/defensive specialist Alex Palmer 19 assists to lead the Breakers.
Corona del Mar was led by senior Juliane Piggott with a match-best 25 kills. Senior Kelly Christian had 19 kills, junior Ashley Pries 15 digs and Kasey Kipp five blocks.
Laguna had no problem sweeping their rival in semifinal play two weeks ago at the Dave Mohs Memorial Tournament at Edison High "” where the Breakers went on to win the Division I championship of the event. But Wednesday, they failed to convert in key situations that ultimately swung the match in favor of the Sea Kings.
Down 2-1 in games, Laguna led game No. 4, 15-12, but Kipp led a late rally by the Sea Kings which ultimately pushed them toward the victory.
"We didn't make plays at the end of the first or fourth games," Laguna Coach Lance Stewart said. "If we made those plays that we are capable of making, then the outcome would have been different.
"But if 'its and buts' were candy and nuts, everyday would be Christmas."
Laguna's battle Wednesday against its former Pacific Coast League foe was sandwiched between matches against other highly-ranked teams, Mira Costa and Newport Harbor.
On Monday, Laguna, also without Garrett in the line-up, saw its 10-match win streak come to an end as they were swept by host Mira Costa, 25-9, 25-11, 25-14.
The undefeated Mustangs are ranked No. 1 in Division I-AA.
Hutchinson had seven kills for the Breakers.
The Breakers complete their week's run against ranked teams today when they return home to take on county rival Newport Harbor. The Sailors are ranked seventh in Division I-AA.
Laguna begins Orange Coast League play Tuesday with a home match against Calvary Chapel.