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Laguna Beach, Pacifica Christian Orange County set for CIF finals

Laguna Beach, Pacifica Christian Orange County set for CIF finals
Laguna Beach High's Lexi McKeown records a kill during a match against Sage Hill on Oct. 11. The Breakers face Sun Valley Village Christian for the CIF Southern Section Division 3 title at 2 p.m. Saturday at Cerritos College. (Don Leach / Staff Photographer)

A pair of local girls’ volleyball teams will be featured in the CIF Southern Section divisional finals at Cerritos College on Saturday.

Laguna Beach (Division 3) and Pacifica Christian Orange County (Division 9) will be competing for titles, but the history of their programs could not be more different.

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The Breakers have a rich playoff history. When Laguna Beach opposes Sun Valley Village Christian at 2 p.m. on Saturday, it will be competing in its 12th CIF championship match as a program.

Laguna Beach is 5-6 in the CIF finals, but it has won the last two that it has been a part of. Those victories came in Division IIAA against Corona del Mar in 2006 and Torrance Bishop Montgomery in 2007.

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Back for a second stint as head coach of the Breakers, Shawn Patchell has led Laguna Beach to a third final. His two prior trips ended in defeat, with Laguna Beach losing to Los Angeles Notre Dame Academy (1999) and Los Angeles Marymount (2001) in Division IVAA.

Patchell stacked the Breakers’ schedule with tough opponents, and as it turns out, the Division 3 final will be a rematch from the regular season. Laguna Beach fell to visiting Village Christian 25-21, 23-25, 25-20, 25-18 on Sept. 21.

When Laguna Beach completed a comeback from being down two sets on the road at Cypress in the semifinals, Patchell was holding out hope that the second-seeded Breakers (18-12) would get another shot at the top-seeded Crusaders (33-9).

“We want to play the best,” Patchell said. “It’s the same reason we play those tough matches in the beginning of the season. We want to play the best, and I think they are the best.

“I think losing to them [in September] has a lot to do with it, as well. I think we’re a tough team to beat twice. I think we match up well against them.

“We want to show them how much we’ve improved since the last time that we played them.”

Junior outside hitter Piper Naess has led the Breakers in kills (67) and digs (65), and she shares the team’s lead in service aces (nine) with junior setter Soren Patchell during the playoffs.

Cambria Hall, another junior outside hitter, has brought an all-around game to the postseason. She has 63 kills and 57 digs in four matches.

Fourth-seeded Pacifica Christian (15-8) will open Saturday’s action at Cerritos College in the Division 9 final against third-seeded La Puente (11-10) at 11:30 a.m.

In just its third year as a program and second year of CIF playoff eligibility, the girls’ volleyball team has advanced to the school’s second CIF final overall. The Pacifica Christian boys’ basketball team reached the Division 6 final in 2017.

The Tritons have reached their first girls’ volleyball final without dropping a set. Pacifica Christian converted from a 6-2 offense to a 5-1 offense this season, with junior setter Allyson Scharrer running the show.

Sophomore middle blockers Casie Carlson and Hailey MacKay have led the Tritons as hitters.

Tritons second-year coach Kimberly Adams says that it has taken a “full team effort” to get to this point, and the defensive numbers for Pacifica Christian back that up.

Sophomore opposite Anna Eddy, senior outside hitter Breck Burwell, senior opposite Maddy Alaluf and junior libero Annika Bahnsen have all posted double-digit digs in a single match during the playoffs.

Pacifica Christian swept top-seeded Perris Orange Vista at home in the semifinals last Saturday. The feeling of making school history with her team has not worn off for Adams.

“It felt incredible,” Adams said. “It was an amazing experience to watch my team celebrate a moment like that. It doesn’t happen that often, so when it does, it’s so memorable. I’m so glad that we got to share in that experience.”

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CIF Southern Section girls’ volleyball finals

Where: Cerritos College (11110 Alondra Blvd, Norwalk, CA 90650)

When: Division 9 final - Pacifica Christian Orange County vs. La Puente, 11:30 a.m.; Division 3 final – Laguna Beach vs. Sun Valley Village Christian, 2 p.m.

Fan info: General admission is $12. Students with ID and children (ages 5-13) are $5.

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