Breakers finish league 8-0

Another perfect run through Orange Coast League competition.

That’s what the Laguna Beach High girls’ volleyball team accomplished Wednesday when they concluded league and regular season play with a 25-14, 25-6, 25-13 sweep of visiting Costa Mesa at Dugger Gym.

The victory capped an 8-0 finish in league play.

Laguna is now 21-8 overall and improved its all-time record against Costa Mesa to 42-1 (the loss was a Laguna forfeit of a match not played).

Two Breakers hit double-digits in the kills department with Paulette Grand Pre recording 13 and Caroline Holte 10. Piper Obradovich had nine kills and 15 digs, Alexandra Palmer added eight digs and 30 assists, Allison Palmer had 11 digs and Chanel Stewart finished with eight digs.

Laguna toyed with league competition once again and won the Orange Coast League title for the third time in the three-year history of the league.

“We were fairly sharp in league play,” Laguna Coach Lance Stewart said. “After getting done with a brutal nonleague schedule and tournament play, we knew that we were favored to win league and, even though the other teams were working hard, our girls walked onto the court knowing they would win.

“Our goal during league was to get the girls to take pride in their performances and take care of their side of the court. We tried to create a competitive atmosphere at practice to keep the girls focused. It’s only human nature, especially at this level, to not get up for every match, but I thought sometimes we were sharp and focused and sometimes not.”

The Breakers will now turn their attention to the upcoming CIF playoffs, which begin Tuesday. The Division I-A pairings will be announced Sunday by the CIF Southern Section office in Los Alamitos.

Laguna, ranked fourth in the division, figures to get the No. 4 seed. Top-ranked Dos Pueblos, No. 2 Santa Barbara and third-ranked Marymount, should secure the other three seeds.

The Breakers moved up a division this year after winning the Division II-AA title the past two years.

“Our division is brutal, a lot more brutal than last year,” Stewart said. “It’s deeper and bigger. Dos Pueblos, Santa Barbara and Marymount, all of which have fabulous athletes and coaches, are just flat-out good teams. Other than maybe a first-round game, every other match will be really tough. It’ll be a dog fight just to get to the semifinals.

“In order to have a deep run in the playoffs, we will need to control the first ball better and get more swings than the other team,” Stewart said. “That is the key for any volleyball team at any level, whether it’s NCAA Division I, community college, high school, junior high or club. In addition to doing that, the other key for us is to serve tough. We’re capable of serving real tough, but we’re also capable of not keeping our serves in the court.”

Laguna’s balance is evident in the stat sheet. Several Breakers rank among the top players in the county in several categories.

Alexandra Palmer, Allison Palmer and Piper Obradovich rank one-two-three and Chanel Stewart and Paulette Grand Pre are fifth and sixth in serving. Alexandra Palmer also is the county leader in assists, Grand Pre and Obradovich are second and third in kills and Hayley Wyett ranks seventh in blocks.

“This year we’ve gotten a lot more kills out of our middle and right side and we’re digging a few more balls, too,” Lance Stewart said.

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