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Laguna Beach girls’ volleyball sweeps Marina to earn at least a share of Wave League crown

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Laguna Beach breaks a huddle before the start of the third set in a Wave League match at home against Marina on Monday.
(Photo by Andrew Turner)

The Laguna Beach High girls’ volleyball team earned at least a share of the Wave League championship on Monday night in sweeping Marina 25-14, 25-16, 25-20 at home.

Since 2005, Laguna Beach has gone 128-1 in league matches, so the Breakers did not have to act like they had been there before.

The goals that the Breakers have set for themselves lie ahead in the CIF Southern Section playoffs and beyond.

“To be honest, we’re talking a lot about CIF,” said Breakers coach Shawn Patchell, whose team reached the Division 3 final last year. “We’ve played well enough that we’ll probably be in the Open [Division], so we’re using these matches to prepare us for the playoffs.

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“We’ve had a really good season, and that throws us in with Mater Dei and [Los Angeles Marymount] and Redondo [Union] and some really good teams. We’ve got to prepare for those. It’s a matter of we’ve got to get better.”

Senior outside hitter Cambria Hall and sophomore opposite Sophie Reavis each had a match-high 10 kills for the Breakers (25-9, 4-0 in league), who won their 15th straight league title.

Hall recently returned to the court after suffering an injury at home three weeks ago.

“I fell down a flight of stairs, and I strained my ACL and rolled my ankle,” Hall said. “I’ve been just recovering and stretching and getting the strength back in my leg.”

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Just as it looked like the Breakers would be getting healthy before the playoffs, senior middle blocker Kendall Fraser sustained an ankle injury in the first set. She hopped off the court and remained on the bench for the remainder of the match.

“That’s the season,” Patchell said. “Girls are going to get hurt and banged up and be under the weather sometimes, but you just got to be able to have a good team. Coaches need to make adjustments.

“She has never sprained that ankle, so when you do it a first time, it’s scary. It hurts. She was walking on it.”

The Sea Kings lead the Surf League, while the Breakers have sole possession of first place in the Wave League through the first half of league play.

Soren Patchell had 15 assists and four service aces to help the Breakers. Piper Naess and Ella Tyus each had five kills and two aces. Natalia Hagopian, who missed time with an ankle injury of her own, had 12 assists.

Luisa LoFranco and Mikayla Smith both had two aces for Laguna Beach, which had 17 aces as a team. Sophie Black also had two kills and an ace.

“Credit to them,” Vikings coach Jake Nuneviller said. “That was probably the toughest serving team we’ve played against this year. They were moving the ball around really well. They were serving line drives.”

Senior middle blocker Helen McMullin led the Vikings (8-16, 1-3) with eight kills, two blocks and an ace. Jordan Packer had 12 assists, Paige Phillips added six kills, and Jane Paden chipped in with three kills to go with 1½ blocks.

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The most recent rankings, published on Sept. 30, have Laguna Beach ranked No. 5 in the CIF Southern Section Division 1 and 2 poll. Hall said that her team wants the challenge of being in the top division.

“It’s just super-cool because now we’re able to challenge ourselves,” Hall said. “We’ve worked so hard that we do deserve to be in Division 1.”

The Breakers have never wavered on setting a CIF title as their goal, regardless of division.

“Obviously, we want to win,” Tyus said. “I think if we play how we’ve been playing against some of the best teams, we’re going to go really far. I feel like our team has bonded a lot from all of the five-set matches. I feel like we can do it.”

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