Sailors sweep Laguna Beach

LAGUNA BEACH — While Dan Glenn talked about his 27th year as coach of the Newport Harbor High girls' volleyball team, the opposing coach interrupted him.

"I've got to close the gym," Laguna Beach's Lance Stewart said.

Glenn just grinned. What else did Stewart need to do? Glenn's Sailors took care of Laguna Beach and its gym on Tuesday.

There was no need for someone to sweep the floor because Newport Harbor brought out the brooms in a 25-20, 25-21, 25-22 win.

The sweep was the Sailors' second straight after they opened the season last week with a three-set loss at home to Santa Margarita. The latest victory came against the top-ranked team in the CIF Southern Section Division 1A poll.

"I'm very happy with the way we played," Glenn said.

The timing is good for the Sailors (2-1), ranked fourth in Division 1AA. Las Vegas is their next trip.

The Sailors open play at the two-day Durango Classic on Friday. They have never won the tournament, considered one of the best in the country.

Glenn wasn't too concerned with the upcoming tournament after beating what he called a really good team. That team also featured one of Glenn's former assistants, Steve Astor, who took over for Glenn as the boys' coach at Newport Harbor last season.

"We're not playing against each other," Glenn said of Astor, who has been an assistant under Stewart since 2006. "It's the kids versus the kids, so I don't even notice it."

What Glenn made a mental note of was how his Sailors outplayed the Breakers late in every set.

They closed things out, going on a 5-0 run in the opening set. Senior outside hitter Tristen Thompson started the spurt with one of her 11 kills, and then junior middle blocker Carolyn Bockrath recorded three straight service aces to clinch it.

Glenn is going to count on Thompson and Bockrath to produce. They both delivered against the Breakers as senior Torey Thompson (32 assists) set them up often.

Bockrath finished with a team-best 15 kills to go with four aces and three blocks. She and Torey Thompson are two of three returning starters off last season's team that reached the section title match.

With the Sailors' high ranking, some expect them to make another deep run in the playoffs. Glenn isn't sure whether his team deserves the No. 4 spot so early in the season.

"Maybe they forgot that we lost [Tatum Norton] to Oregon, [Kasey Thompson] to Hawaii Pacific and [Cinnamon Sary] to USC," said Glenn, referring to three Daily Newport-Mesa Dream Team picks last season.

"Those rankings are so messed up it is ridiculous."

In Vegas, the Sailors will see another ranked team in the section. Their first pool-play match is against Lake Arrowhead Rim of the World, No. 4 in Division 3AA.

The real tests will come later against nationally ranked teams, if Newport Harbor can stay in contention.

Winning the tournament for the first time with the girls isn't Glenn's goal. Seeing his girls improve is. He hasn't grown tired of developing players.

"I feel like it's my first [year coaching]. I love it," Glenn said. "I really enjoy this group and [it has] worked hard. I'm excited about this weekend. This team has really connected."

Twitter: @DCPenaloza

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