The 2018 and 2019 CIF Southern Section Division 1 boys’ volleyball title matches both ended on a swing by Dayne Chalmers of Newport Harbor High.
Chalmers served it into the net last year, the final moment as the top-seeded Sailors were upset by rival Corona del Mar in five sets, 15-13 in set five.
The Sailors’ chance at a CIF title and an undefeated season vanished.
The feeling of working so hard only to come up just a bit short only fueled Chalmers’ fire.
“Unfinished business,” he said. “I remember that moment. Ever since then, I’ve been trying to get in the gym as much as possible, in the weight room as much as possible. I just worked, so that moment won’t come again.”
Actually, the opportunity came again. Chalmers, now a senior outside hitter, put the final swing on the ball this year as well. This time, it was a thunderous kill as the Sailors, again the top seeds, downed Manhattan Beach Mira Costa 25-20, 25-23, 15-25, 25-21 for the Division 1 title on May 11 at Cerritos College.
Chalmers, bound for UC Santa Barbara, was his usual reliable self. He had a match-high 20 kills and 11 digs.
This year, he helped Newport Harbor finish it off the right way. The Sailors (39-1) beat Mira Costa again Saturday night at Newport Harbor High to secure the CIF State Southern California Regional Division I crown.
Chalmers helped send his uncle, Sailors coach Rocky Ciarelli, into retirement as a winner. Chalmers has been a key cog for the Sailors, who went a combined 73-3 during Chalmers’ junior and senior seasons.
“He’s pretty consistent, period,” Ciarelli said. “That’s the best thing about him. He doesn’t make a whole lot of mistakes and he has a good all-around game. Over the four years he’s varsity, that’s something as a coach that you appreciate, a guy that doesn’t make a whole lot of mistakes. There are a lot of guys that hit the ball hard, they do this, they do that, but then some errors come with it. He just doesn’t make many errors.”
Chalmers can actually thank his aunt — Ciarelli’s wife, Cammy — for introducing him to the sport. Cammy played the sport at UCLA and was a professional beach volleyball player in the early 1990s.
Dayne, his older sister Desi and younger sister Ruby, who is currently an eighth grader at Ensign Intermediate and plays setter, would go over to the Ciarellis’ house in Huntington Beach growing up as a sort of day care service. Both Chalmers parents are teachers, Evan at Newport Harbor High where he is also the baseball coach, and Amy at Lincoln Elementary.
Dayne played baseball while he was younger, and both sports together for a while. But eventually volleyball took over.
“[Cammy] drove them to school, and they’d come over after school,” Rocky Ciarelli said. “Dayne picked up volleyball more from her than anybody else I think. She would pepper with him. She has a lot more energy than I do, let’s put it that way, so that’s where he picked up his volleyball skills, from Cammy.”
His competitive spirit shines through in volleyball and also basketball, where he was a three-year varsity player. The Sailors won a program-record 25 games this season and Chalmers led them in scoring, but he also took pride in his defense. When Newport Harbor played rival CdM, Chalmers would often guard junior John Humphreys, another two-sport star who is committed to Stanford as a football receiver.
“He’s an outstanding athlete, going D1 for football,” Chalmers said. “We needed an athletic body on him, and that just happened to be me. That was a fun matchup, for sure.”
Chalmers shows his competitiveness in his main sport of volleyball, as well. The assist on the final point of the CIF championship win came from senior setter Joe Karlous, another stalwart who is headed to Pepperdine.
Chalmers immediately leaped into Karlous’ arms, the dream finally realized.
“We’ve grown a lot, even though that doesn’t necessarily show in our record, because we’ve only lost one match,” Chalmers said. “This team has an especially high work ethic. We take that into every practice, and we motivate and push each other to be better. That shows through our bench. Probably any one of those guys would be starting on another team, but they play here. They motivate our starters to play their best game like we have been.”
Born: Jan. 16, 2001
Hometown: Costa Mesa
Height: 6 feet 4
Weight: 180 pounds
Coach: Rocky Ciarelli
Favorite food: Steak
Favorite movie: “Step Brothers”
Favorite athletic moment: Helping Newport Harbor boys’ volleyball win the CIF Southern Section Division 1 title this season.
Week in review: Chalmers had 20 kills and 11 digs as the Sailors defeated Manhattan Beach Mira Costa in four sets on May 11 at Cerritos College to win the CIF Southern Section Division 1 title. He also had a match-high 22 kills in a semifinal sweep at Los Angeles Loyola on May 8.
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