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Girls' Volleyball: Breakers break through at Newport Harbor

Laguna Beach takes down Sailors to earn first best-of-five win at Newport Harbor since 2004.

September 12, 2013|By Mike Sciacca

Raul Papaleo's first trip to Newport Harbor High certainly will be one to remember for the first-year Laguna Beach High girls' volleyball head coach.

The Breakers achieved a few things Tuesday at the Newport Harbor gym. First, they went to 3-0 on the season by scoring a 25-23, 25-18, 18-25, 25-14 victory over the Sailors. Second, the victory was the first in a best-of-five set match for a Laguna team over Newport Harbor since 2004.

Tuesday's triumph also marked the first time since 1995 that a Laguna team had won on the Sailors' home floor.

"That's what I've been told by our parents, and I'm happy with that," Papaleo said of the momentous achievement. "We did a better job of controlling our side of the court than we had done in our first two matches, and we didn't make as many mistakes as we had previously, either. This was a nice win."

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Laguna, ranked No. 3 in CIF Southern Section Division 1A, took the first two sets to take control, and then put the Sailors (0-2) away in the fourth set.

Junior outside hitter Alyse Wallace-Ford turned in a match-best 23 kills to go along with eight digs. Junior outside hitter/opposite Sabrina Stillwell had eight kills and four digs, junior libero Francie Holte had 11 digs, sophomore setter Aspen Rocha had 16 set assists, seven digs and 2.5 blocks, and sophomore setter Taylor Cunningham had 12 assists.

Carolyn Bockrath had 19 kills for Newport Harbor which leads the all-time series between the teams, 28-12.

"Several girls played very well," Papaleo said. "Alyse [Wallace-Ford] led us with 23 kills, Sabrina Stillwell had several kills and our right side, with Cameron Dorn and Aspen Rocha, was strong. I thought Aspen did a good job of keeping the game simple with her sets."

Laguna ended the first week of its season Sept. 5 with a sweep of Santa Margarita. Wallace-Ford and Stillwell had 17 and seven kills, respectively, as the Breakers successfully launched their home schedule with a 25-21, 25-21, 21-17 victory at Dugger Gym.

Rocha and Cunningham combined for 27 set assists.

The Breakers start play Friday at the Dave Mohs Memorial Tournament, which is hosted by Edison High. The tournament continues Saturday and concludes with championship finals action Monday.

The tournament format includes four-team pools with each team playing two pool-play matches starting at 3:30 p.m. Friday. The matches are best-of-three to win.

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