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High School Roundup: Breakers feel good in season-opening win

Laguna Beach beats Edison in four sets to open the season with a quality victory.

February 28, 2013|By Mike Sciacca
(SCOTT SMELTZER…)

Laguna Beach High boys' volleyball coach Scott Panaro said that he was excited to get the 2013 season underway. Tuesday at Dugger Gymnasium, the second-year head coach had to feel pretty good about the Breakers' opening performance.

Laguna took down Edison for a 25-20, 25-20, 22-25, 25-12 victory over the Chargers of the Sunset League.

Senior outside hitter Weston Barnes had a team-high 15 kills for Laguna. Senior opposite Jackson Pries had 13 kills and three blocks, senior middle blocker Maxx McCarter had 10 kills and senior setter Grifan Fair finished with 45 assists and four aces.

Freshman Tyler Alter made his varsity debut and registered his first kill.

"The first match of the season is always critical as you are establishing a foundation to build upon for the rest of the season," Panaro said. "Setting the proper tone was important. I knew we would need a strong performance from our seniors to pull out a win tonight against a high-quality program like Edison.

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"The boys were playing with lots of energy and emotion to start the match. Early on this lead to unforced errors on our attack, but they steadied out. [Grifan] Fair did a nice job of getting everyone involved in our offense. When we can be successful with our middle attack, it really helps the whole team by getting one-on-one matchups for the other hitters."

After taking the first game, Panaro felt the Breakers came out flat in the next two games. They won the second game, 25-20, but dropped the third, 25-22.

Laguna trailed, 10-5, 18-10, and 24-19, before staging a late rally in the third game that fell short. A nice service run by Fair combined with a string of kills by Barnes, helped the Breakers make it close.

"Early in Game 2, our energy was a bit flat, but the boys quickly pulled it together and went on a nice run of points due to [Jackson] Pries' blocking," Panaro said. "He had many key touches to slow their hitter's attack. Game 3, we came out flat and Edison had a sense of urgency that we were lacking."

The Breakers took command early in the fourth game to win handily.

"We came out playing with a purpose and quickly took control by serving tough and capitalizing on opportunities, leading to a win," Panaro said. "It was nice to see them respond with a strong performance in Game 4 after losing Game 3.

"Overall, it was a great first match of season and it feels to good to finally be playing matches."

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