The Laguna Beach High girls' volleyball team, ranked No. 1 at the start of the week in the first CIF Division 1-A poll of the regular season, begins play today at the Dave Mohs Tournament, hosted by Edison High.
The tournament, one of the top girls' volleyball events, continues Saturday and concludes with championship-round play Monday at Edison.
Sixty-four squads, with teams playing in either Division 1 or Division 2, are entered in the 31st annual event. Sites include Edison's Dave Mohs Gym and the gymnasiums at Huntington Beach, Marina, Fountain Valley, Newport Harbor and Corona del Mar, as well as possibly Estancia and Costa Mesa, Edison Coach Trent Jackson said.
Laguna will compete in Division 1 and is in the same pool as El Dorado, Santa Margarita and Marina. The Breakers open the tournament at 4:30 p.m. today against Marina at the Marina gym. They'll face Santa Margarita at 6:30 p.m. today and go up against El Dorado at 9 a.m. Saturday. Both games also will be at the Marina gym.
"The county is kind of wide open now," Laguna Coach Lance Stewart said. "There is no one dominant team, so this should be a really competitive tournament.
"Since tournament play is a little different than a regular match, where you have to win two of three, then rest for a bit before playing your next match, the teams who adapt to the schedule and get hot do well in the tournament."
The top teams in each pool from each division advance to compete in the championship bracket for the overall tournament title. The third-place teams from all pools will compete in the Silver division, and fourth-place teams will play in the Bronze division. Teams must win two out of three in both pool play and the playoffs, but the tournament becomes a single-elimination event following pool play.
Los Alamitos won the tournament title last year, defeating Corona del Mar in three games in the final. The Griffins are back to defend their title. Corona del Mar also returns and is a host site. Stewart said that Laguna last year reached the gold-medal round before being eliminated.
All pool play begins at 3 p.m. today. Second-day action starts at 8 a.m. Saturday. The championship match will be played Monday at Edison.
Division 1 teams: Bakersfield, Capo Valley, Carlsbad, Corona del Mar, Centennial/Bakersfield, Chaparral, Dana Hills, Edison, El Dorado, Garces Memorial, Huntington Beach, Laguna Beach, Liberty (Bakersfield), Long Beach Poly, Los Alamitos, Los Osos, Marina, Mater Dei, Mission Viejo, Murrieta Valley, Newport Harbor, Orange Lutheran, Palos Verdes, Peninsula, Rosary, Royal, San Clemente, Santa Margarita, Temecula Valley, Upland, Vista Murrieta, Yucaipa.
Division 2 teams: Ayala, Beckman, Bonita, Brea, Calvary Chapel (Santa Ana), Canyon (Anaheim), Connelly, Esperanza, El Modena, Estancia, Foothill, Fountain Valley, Francis Parker, Fullerton, La Habra, Norco, Northwood, Notre Dame Prep (Arizona), Santa Fe Christian, Silverado, St. Margaret's, Stockdale (Bakersfield), West Ranch, Tesoro, Trabuco Hills, Tri-City Christian, Troy, University (Irvine), Valencia (Placentia), Villa Park, Warren, Woodbridge.
Laguna opened its 2010 season Tuesday against Newport Harbor (No. 8 in Division 1-AA), and was swept by the Sailors, 25-11, 25-21, 25-11. Chanel Stewart had 12 kills and 12 digs, Kalysta White had 12 digs and setter Allison Palmer had 30 set assists for the Breakers. The Sailors evened their record at 1-1.
Errors plagued the Breakers throughout the match.
"Although we have some experience, a lot of our players were playing new positions for the first time on varsity and were playing on our home floor against a big opponent with a pretty big crowd on hand," Stewart said. "I think we may have been a little nervous. We had 38 unforced errors. We had 16 hitting errors, 11 service errors, 10 serve received errors and four blocking errors. Teams won't win if they do that against mediocre teams, let alone win against a team of Newport's caliber."