Boys' Volleyball Preview: Coach Panaro fired up

With several key players returning and two new additions to its roster, the 2013 season has the potential to be a successful one for the Laguna Beach High boys' volleyball team.

The Breakers welcome back six starters from last year from last year's Orange Coast League championship team coached, for the first time, by Scott Panaro.

Laguna Beach enters the season ranked No. 4 in the CIF Southern Section Division 2 preseason poll.

Below is a capsule look at the 2013 Breakers.


Head coach: Scott Panaro (second year)

2012 record: 22-9 overall; 10-0 league (champion)

Returning starters: Eight

Returning players: Weston Barnes (outside hitter, Sr.); Grifan Fair (setter, Sr.); Maxx McCarter (middle blocker, Sr.); Jackson Pries (opposite, Sr.); Jake Hexberg (libero, Jr.); Noah Blanton (MB, Jr.); JP Wollam (S/L, Jr.); Lucas Capobianco (OH, Jr.).

Returning All-Orange Coast League: Barnes (first team); McCarter (first team); Fair (second team); Hexberg (second team); Blanton (second team).

Team take: Two players new to the program this year are junior outside hitter Alec Wulff and sophomore opposite Jack Burgi. Wulff transferred to Laguna Beach this year from Torrey Pines and just finished playing his first season on the varsity boys' basketball team. Burgi is a transfer student from Sage Hill.

Coach's outlook: "The squad has been working hard since summer camp in August," Panaro said. "We had a long preseason with many 6 a.m. practices, and lifting sessions. These guys have put in the work during the preseason to have a tremendous year. I am very proud of their efforts and sacrifice in the preseason. Alec [Wulff] and Jack [Burgi] add to our depth, making practices highly competitive and making us a better team. We have eight returners and several starters back, making us much more experienced than last year. We have good talent in the gym, but need to work together as a team to maximize our ability and accomplish our goals. Only time will tell how willing we are to come together and sacrifice the individual goals for the team goals. Our first match is on Tuesday, and I couldn't be more fired up."

Schedule notes: The Breakers play in two tournaments during the regular season, the Orange County Championships March 15-16, 18, and the Kamehameha Tournament in Hawaii April 2-7. A tough nonleague schedule also includes the likes of Edison, Newport Harbor, San Clemente, Corona del Mar, Dana Hills and Esperanza.

Season opener: Tuesday, 5:45 p.m., home vs. Edison.

Twitter: @MikeSciacca

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