Briefly In Sports

Volleyball alumni match is today

The Laguna Beach girls' volleyball program will play its annual Alumni Match starting at 5 p.m. today at Dugger Gym. The festivities begin with the frosh/soph team taking on the junior varsity squad, followed by the varsity team against the alumni at 6:15 p.m. An auction and raffle will be held with proceeds going to the girls' volleyball program. The public is welcome to attend the event.

Former players needing more information can contact Jeff Greenough at FocusFinance@aol.com.

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Former surf champ Andy Irons dies

Former two-time U.S. Open of Surfing men's champion and three-time World Champion Andy Irons was found dead Tuesday in a hotel room in the Dallas area. The cause of death was not immediately known. The 32-year-old, who lived in Kauai, HI., was on his way home from Puerto Rico where he was scheduled to compete Sunday at the Rip Curl Pro Search Puerto Rico. He withdrew from the competition citing illness. An autopsy was scheduled for Wednesday.

Huntington Beach's Brett Simpson, who has won the past two U.S. Open Men's titles, is in Puerto Rico for the Rip Curl Pro Search contest which he said Wednesday has been put on hold.

"It's pretty devastating news," Simpson said in a phone call from Puerto Rico, of Irons' death. "I really looked up to him my first year on tour, and I've looked up to him for the last 10 years. He was just crazy committed to doing everything to the extreme. As Kelly Slater said, Andy gave everybody a run for their money. He achieved so much in the sport in a short period of time.

"I didn't see him here in Puerto Rico but I guess, from what I heard, he wasn't feeling well. It's lonely sometimes when you're traveling, and he probably just wanted to get home."

Simpson was part of a paddle out that was held in Iron's memory Wednesday morning at Middles Beach in Porta Del Sol, P.R.

"It was pretty emotional," Simpson said of the paddle out. "I knew him well and we talked and hung out a bit throughout the years, but seeing his really close friends, like Roy Powers (Hawaii) and Dusty Payne (Hawaii) overcome by emotion at the paddle out, it was hard not to shed a tear."

Irons first won the U.S. Open of Surfing men's title in Huntington Beach in 1998 and captured his last title in 2005. He also competed at this year's U.S. Open but didn't reach the finals. He was the Assn. of Surfing Professionals World Champion in 2002, 2003 and 2004.

Irons and his wife, Lyndie, are expecting their first child in December.

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Christmas tree fundraiser continues

The Laguna Beach High boys' basketball program is holding a fundraiser by selling Christmas trees now through a pre-ordering deadline of Nov. 12. Trees will be delivered from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Dec. 5 at the Laguna Beach School District parking lot. Home delivery also can be purchased for an additional $10. All trees are cut two days before delivery. The fundraiser is in support of the boys' basketball program.

For information, call Melanie Lewis at (949) 494-3638, or email sweetlews@cox.net.

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Local tennis player falls in semis

Sydney Van Alphen of Laguna Beach had her run in the Orange County Junior Open Tennis Tournament in Anaheim come to an end Sunday as she and partner Emily Maxfield (Murrieta) fell to Julia Goldberg (Tarzana) and Juliana Simon (Los Angeles), 6-4, 7-5, in Girls' 12s semifinal round action. Beginning Saturday, Van Alphen will team with Maxfield in girls' doubles play and Jacob Brumm (Rancho Santa Fe) in mixed doubles at the Southern California Junior Sectional Doubles Championships.

Van Alphen is listed 17th in the state Girls' 12s rankings.

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Laguna teams rise in CIF rankings

A week after losing its place at No. 1, the Laguna Beach High boys' water polo team has moved from second, to first, in this week's CIF Southern Section Division 3 poll. Laguna replaces Damien of La Verne at No. 1 and the Spartans dropped to second. The rest of the top 10 includes Palos Verdes, La Canada, Mira Costa, Capistrano Valley, Aliso Niguel, Santa Monica, South Pasadena and Peninsula.

In girls' volleyball, Laguna rose from fifth to four in this week's Division 1-A poll, switching places with Notre Dame Academy. Marymount leads the poll followed by Redlands East Valley, Corona del Mar, Laguna Beach, Notre Dame Academy, Los Osos, Vista Murrieta, Valencia/Valencia, Saugus and El Dorado.

The Laguna Beach boys' cross-country team again is ranked sixth in the Division 4 rankings. The poll is topped by Bosco Tech followed by Notre Dame/Sherman Oaks, Harvard/Westlake, JSerra, Crespi, Laguna Beach, Salesian, Maranatha, Oaks Christian, Nordhoff, Big Bear, L.A. Baptist and Paraclete.

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