The moment never seemed too big for the Newport Harbor High boys’ volleyball team, especially outside hitter Dayne Chalmers.
Chalmers had a laid-back personality, one that bred confidence over panic, as the Sailors traversed the perilous waters of the CIF Southern Section Division 1 playoffs.
One year after his service error capped a five-set loss in the Division 1 final to Back Bay rival Corona del Mar, Chalmers gave Newport Harbor everything it could have asked for and more.
Newport Harbor completed the climb back to the top of the sport, defeating Manhattan Beach Mira Costa 25-20, 25-23, 15-25, 25-21 in the Division 1 championship match at Cerritos College on May 11.
Chalmers had a match-high 20 kills and 11 digs in the final, and he was named the Division 1 Player of the Year. He is also the Daily Pilot Boys’ Volleyball Dream Team Player of the Year for the 2019 season.
Newport Harbor had a number of seniors that played key roles in the Sailors tasting sweet victory one year removed from an agonizing defeat — setter Joe Karlous, libero Ryan Schroeder, opposite Jack Higgs, outside hitter Blake Ludes and middle blocker Alec Patterson among them.
The Sailors’ senior class saw the program win four league titles (including two outright), advance to two section finals and win a CIF title in their last season. Chalmers said that experience was one he would not trade for anything.
“It meant a lot to do it with that group of guys, especially because we grew so close throughout those four years,” said Chalmers, who is now a freshman at UC Santa Barbara. “Our senior year, we kind of put it all together chemistry-wise and friendship-wise, and we were all there for each other.
“Coming out winning CIF, that was just an incredible experience. That was probably the most meaningful game that I’ve ever played in because that’s been my personal goal, and the team’s goal, as well, for the last four years.”
Chalmers, a high-flyer who also played basketball, took his offense to another level as a senior. He had 420 kills on a .393 hitting percentage. He also had 137 digs, 26½ blocks and 21 service aces.
Newport Harbor went 39-1 overall and 5-1 in the Surf League, sharing the league crown with CdM. Chalmers split the Surf League MVP award with Sea Kings outside hitter Adam Flood. The Sailors also won the CIF Southern California Regional Division I title.
The familial relationship of Sailors coach Rocky Ciarelli taking Chalmers, his nephew, under his wing presented an interesting dynamic over the past four years. Chalmers played on varsity as a freshman, and it was worrisome for Ciarelli that others might not think he was being fair with the playing time.
In the end, Ciarelli felt justified in having Chalmers on varsity throughout his high school career because of the work ethic that the latter displayed.
“More than anything, just his work ethic every day [earned his spot on varsity],” Ciarelli said of Chalmers. “Not only as a senior, but from his freshman to his senior year, I think the kids saw, ‘Look at him. He’s working as hard as he can every day.’ That’s another thing that made it easy for me, too.”
Chalmers was asked if he received any sage advice from his uncle that he took to heart, and he came up with a phrase that is used frequently in his family.
“The way is the goal,” he said. “It really means set your course, and you’ve got to follow through on your goals and where you’re going.”
Ciarelli said he first heard the turn of phrase used by Dayne Chalmers’ grandfather, Doug Chalmers. He had a slightly different perspective on its meaning, saying that while a CIF championship was the goal, his team should enjoy the ride.
Newport Harbor never got too high or too low, but when the match was on the line, the Sailors knew they could count on Chalmers.
“I think, especially this year, just the confidence factor,” Ciarelli said of how Chalmers exhibited leadership. “I think Dayne gave the rest of the team a lot of confidence that when we needed something, he was going to do it for us.”
COACH OF THE YEAR
Newport Harbor went 39-1 overall and 5-1 in Surf League play, the lone loss coming at rival CdM in the second half of league. The Sailors fell three matches shy of going undefeated in the regular season for a second consecutive year. That is quite a résumé for any coach, but Ciarelli was perfectly content to retire atop the mountain at season’s end. Newport Harbor advanced to the section and regional finals in the top division in back-to-back seasons. The Sailors defeated Manhattan Beach Mira Costa 25-20, 25-23, 15-25, 25-21 in the Division 1 final and 18-25, 25-17, 25-12, 25-19 in the CIF Southern California Regional Division I championship match at home. Ciarelli coached Newport Harbor for five seasons, largely motivated by the opportunity to coach Chalmers, his nephew. Both leave the Sailors as champions. Ciarelli received the Coach of the Year honor for Division 1.
OPP | Laguna Beach | Jr.
After years of dominance in the Orange Coast League, the Breakers found out that moving into the Surf League represented more than the proverbial step up. A winless league schedule left Laguna Beach with a .500 record, but the Breakers still got into the CIF Southern Section Division 1 bracket, losing to Los Angeles Loyola 25-19, 25-14, 17-25, 25-19 in the first round. The left-handed Bianchi was superb from the right side, providing 21 kills on a .383 hitting percentage against the Cubs. Bianchi led the Breakers (13-14) with 413 kills on .293 hitting playing opposite of junior outside hitter Andrew Reavis, who was second on the team with 315 kills. A first-team All-Surf League selection, Bianchi also led Laguna Beach in aces (32) and total blocks (25½), while also finishing second on the team in digs with 172 digs.
OH | Huntington Beach | Jr.
The Oilers flirted with several different lineups, but Colburn forged a consistent role for himself as setter Aidan Knipe’s go-to option on offense. He packed a punch in the first round of the CIF Southern Section Division 1 playoffs, lifting the Oilers to a 25-21, 20-25, 18-25, 25-19, 15-12 victory at Trinity League champion Servite. Colburn, an All-Surf League first-team member, had a match-high 25 kills against the Friars.
MB | Newport Harbor | Jr.
The Sailors did not have many holes to fill, but Garrido filled a void left by the departure of Ethan Talley (Ohio State) at middle blocker. The second-year starter had 161 kills on a .448 hitting percentage. The second-team All-Surf League pick added 32 solo blocks and 51 block assists. Garrido, who had 11 kills in the CIF Southern Section Division 1 final against Mira Costa, will be the only returning starter for the defending Division 1 champions.
OH | Corona del Mar | Sr.
The senior outside hitter led the Sea Kings to a share of the Surf League title. He received co-Surf League MVP honors, sharing the award with Chalmers. Flood had 20 kills and two aces, as host CdM (22-8, 5-1 in league) handed Newport Harbor a 25-18, 21-25, 25-15, 25-23 defeat on April 17, which was the Sailors’ only loss of the season. Flood had 16 kills in a first-round win in the CIF Southern Section Division 1 playoffs over Newbury Park and 21 kills in CdM’s quarterfinal loss to Santa Barbara. The USC signee was also an All-CIF Division 1 honoree.
S | Newport Harbor | Sr.
Chalmers referred to Karlous as the “floor captain” for the Sailors. Newport Harbor’s vocal leader orchestrated the offense, distributing 1,244 assists to go with 120 digs, 24½ total blocks and 23 aces. Karlous garnered first-team All-Surf League and All-CIF Southern Section Division 1 honors in his third season as the starting setter. The two-time Dream Team selection signed with Pepperdine University.
S | Huntington Beach | Sr.
Like any true leader, Knipe had both the ability to make plays and the respect of his teammates. He held his team to a high standard that he expected to be met on a nightly basis. Huntington Beach went 25-9 overall and 2-4 in Surf League play, earning an at-large bid into the CIF Southern Section Division 1 playoffs. The Oilers went on the road and notched a five-set victory over Servite in the first round. Knipe had 57 assists, three aces and three blocks in the contest. The list of accolades collected by the Long Beach State signee included first-team All-Surf League, All-CIF Division 1, and American Volleyball Coaches Assn. Senior All-American.
L | Edison | Sr.
A four-year varsity player, Power provided the defense necessary for Edison to challenge ranked opponents. The repeat Dream Team selection’s back-row brilliance helped Edison (17-13, 5-1 in league) earn a share of the Wave League crown with Los Alamitos. Power was named the co-Wave League MVP, splitting the honor with Griffins senior outside hitter Jake Maffett. The UCLA signee was an All-CIF Southern Section Division 1 selection, and he was inducted into Edison’s Hall of Fame for athletics at the end of his high school career.
Position, Name, School, Year
OH James Carpenter, Edison, Sr.
S Bryce Dvorak, Corona del Mar, Jr.
OPP Jack Higgs, Newport Harbor, Sr.
S Hunter Miller, Ocean View, Sr.
MB Matt Olson, Corona del Mar, Sr.
MB Alec Patterson, Newport Harbor, Sr.
OH Jackson Petrovich, Ocean View, Sr.
L Ryan Schroeder, Newport Harbor, Sr.
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