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Bigelow, Knapp are volleyball MVPs

The chemistry between Blair Bigelow and Clay Knapp was quite apparent throughout the course of the 2006-07 boys’ prep volleyball season — so much so, that the two now share the top award in the Orange Coast League.

Bigelow, a senior middle blocker, and Knapp, a junior setter, have been named co-MVPs of the league.

The duo heads a list of eight Breakers who were named to the all-league team during the first year of competition in a league that consisted of Laguna Beach, Calvary Chapel, Costa Mesa and Estancia.

Laguna thoroughly dominated the league schedule and went undefeated.

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They also advanced to the quarterfinal round of the CIF-Southern Section Division II playoffs.

Breakers named to the first team were a trio of juniors: outside hitter Sean Merz, middle blocker Lorenzo Torriero and opposite Mike Kahl.

Selected to the second team were junior libero Chris Reames and a pair of sophomores, outside hitter Cooper Gwaltney and middle blocker Seth Morris.

“They’re all very deserving,” Laguna Coach Lance Stewart said. “There definitely was quite a chemistry that Blair and Clay had together on offense. It was a good combination. Even though we pretty much had an easy time of it in league, they both were pretty much unstoppable throughout the entire season. They had a nice synergy together.”

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Bigelow, a four-year varsity player, will attend Southern Methodist University in Dallas next fall, Stewart said.

“He’s one of my favorite kids that I’ve ever coached,” Stewart said of Bigelow. “He showed up for practice every day with the attitude of getting better, and he did that for four straight years. He brought it all to the table and as a coach, you can’t ask for anything more than that.”

Despite the loss of Bigelow to graduation, next year’s team has plenty of potential with five of six starters and key role players, returning.

“It’s a great honor for these kids to be named all-league and we’ll give them a pat on the back but then, they have to go forward,” Stewart said.

“They need to get physically stronger and improve their game. If they do those things in the off-season, then I think that next year’s team can be one of the best out there at all levels, and definitely one of the top teams in the county,” Stewart added.

“The key is what they will do when no one’s watching. Will they hit the weight room, work on improving, things like that? That’s the time when champions are built.”


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