Local athletes fare well at JOs

Francie Holte, Peighton McRobie and Parker Noriega were two matches away from a gold medal.

Competing for the Laguna Beach Volleyball Club girls’ 12s team, the trio of Laguna Beach residents made it to the semifinals of the Gold division this week at the 30th annual USA Junior Olympics Girls’ Volleyball Championships, held at Miami Beach Convention Center.

Some are in Florida and some are in Arizona, but several Laguna Beach girls’ volleyball players are continuing play this weekend.

Laguna Beach Volleyball Club teams for girls’ 12s, 14s, 15s, 16s, 17s and 18s are in Miami for the Junior Olympics.


Laguna girls featured on the teams are Holte, McRobie and Noriega (12s); Kalysta White (14s); Avery Bush, Caroline Holte and Rachelle Killian (15s); MacKenzie Hester and Alison Palmer (16s); Paulette Grand Pré and Savannah Holte (17s) and Alexandra Palmer (18s).

The 12s team won four of its five first-round “American" division matches, split two matches in round two then won a Gold round three match over San Francisco Warriors, 25-15, 25-16. They lost their Gold semifinal match after they were outlasted by eventual gold-medal winner Corona-based Mavericks, 11-25, 25-18, 16-14.

It was the second time Laguna had lost to the Mavericks in the tournament, both going three games.

The 14s team was set to have its first 14s Open division match Thursday afternoon, while the 15s won four of five first-round Open matches and were set to play a team from Hawaii in their second round Thursday.


The 16s team went 3-3 in the Open first round, landing it in the Bronze round two playoffs. LBVC lost its opening match there to Los Angeles-based Sunshine, 24-26, 25-23, 25-17, 28-28. It was a 1-5 first round for the 17s team in the Open division, although the squad did win two Flight 2 matches in the second round.

Palmer’s 18s team swept its first two matches in the 18s Open division and had two more scheduled for Thursday, as well as two more today.

Also, Coach Lance Stewart has girls teams from his 900-square-foot Volleyball Club participating in the Volleyball Festival at the Phoenix Convention Center. These athletes include Emilie Austin, Natalie Belyea, Brooke Borges, Brianna Boyd, Bryana Corlett, Jordan Buron, Kendal Clawson, Sabrina Stillwell, Chloe Jackson and Mary Kate Quellmalz (12s); Sevana Dvorak, Cheyenne Eisert, Julia Goggin, Marissa Greenough, Amanda Kimball and Maggie Renner (14s); and Lauren Capobianco, Taylor Dorse, Lauren Hampton, Natalie Redwitz and Chanel Stewart (16s).

The 12 girls’ team went 5-7 overall, winning three straight “comeback" bracket games before falling in the end to the Piopio Bears of Hawaii, 22-25, 26-24, 15-4.

The 14 girls’ team came out on fire, winning its first six matches before being tripped up by Manhattan Beach-based Beach Cities Volleyball Club. Stewart’s team would lose a pair of Round 6 championship matches, and had a Round 7 contender’s bracket match scheduled Thursday against Santa Monica Beach Club.

The 900-square-foot 16s squad followed a similar path, winning six of its first nine matches before dropping a pair of Round 4 championship matches, one to Orange County Volleyball Club and one to Bakersfield-based Jamba. They had a Round 5 contender’s bracket match scheduled Thursday.

The Volleyball Festival tournament ends today.