“For where we were as a team, experience-wise, I thought we played really well,” Breakers Coach Lance Stewart said. “We got better. We played some incredible defense, dug a ton of balls.”
Along the way, the Breakers took the top-seeded team in their pool — El Dorado — to three games as well before falling, 21-25, 25-22, 15-8. Laguna rebounded for pool-play victories over Mission Viejo, 25-21, 25-19, and Chaparral, 25-19, 25-21.
“It’s nice to win,” said sophomore middle blocker Caroline Holte, who finished with 14 kills in the tournament and hit a team-best .323. “But Coach Lance always said that tournament isn’t about winning, it’s a tournament to improve. We improved a lot and our team spirit was there.
“It was hard without one of our biggest hitters [senior Paulette Grand Pre]. But it was good in a way, because it opened up the door for our other two outsides, Chanel [Stewart] and Avery [Bush].”
Bush led the team with 30 kills in the tournament, while senior Alex Rieckhoff had 25 kills and 50 assists. Stewart had 22 kills and 24 digs, and sophomore Marina Paul led the team in the latter category with 37 digs. Sophomore setter Allison Palmer had 53 assists and 24 digs while sophomore Rachele Killian had 10 service aces.
“Our back row has definitely had to step it up,” Holte said. “We’ve had four sophomores starting on the court, so everyone has had to step up their game.”
The Breakers have been starting sophomores Holte, Palmer, Bush and Paul, but it hasn’t stopped them from competing with Orange County’s elite so far this season.
“We’re not ending rallies right now,” Lance Stewart said. “We’re just keeping it going and we need to end some rallies, but that will come.”