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Beckman building to get to top of PCL

Irvine Scene

Patriots know Corona del Mar is the team to beat in Pacific Coast League, and is improving to challenge.

September 29, 2012|By Joe Haakenson
  • Michaela Coats (14) and Ella Roberts (5) go up for a block for Beckman.
Michaela Coats (14) and Ella Roberts (5) go up for a block… (Chris Kelly, Beckman…)

One of the first things Beckman High girls' volleyball coach Darin McBain did in preparation for the season was take a look at the schedule.

And in particular, McBain looked for those three letters just about every coach in the Pacific Coast League needs to find – CdM.

Corona del Mar is the team to beat in league, as usual, and McBain wanted to highlight the dates his team will play them. And specifically, McBain was looking for the first of the two meetings – Oct. 10 in Beckman's home gym.

"We've challenged them in years past," said McBain, in his fifth season leading the program. " We always seem to give them a good match and we just fall a little bit short. They are the top of the league, they have been every year since I've been coaching.

"They always seem to be the one team we're looking up at and the one we're shooting for every season."

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McBain, though, was forced to alter his focus. Injuries to Ella Roberts (bad back) and Nicole Luters (dislocated thumb), both starters, made McBain adjust.

"That first match against CdM, we really felt if we took care of that, then we'd set ourselves up pretty nicely for the rest of the season and CIF," he said. "But I've transitioned our focus into survival mode right now, to be honest, with these injuries. Who am I going to plug into these spots, who's going to give me everything they've got? Now, it's not, 'Hey let's focus on CdM in two weeks.' It's, 'we've got to focus on Monday and Wednesday next week.' We've got Woodbridge and Northwood and we've just got to survive however we can."

Fortunately for McBain, he has a back-up plan. In fact, Beckman has a deep and experienced team with 12 seniors.

Myranda Cunningham was a first-team all-PCL selection last season as a setter and is off to a good start to the season for Beckman, which began play this weekend ranked No. 9 in Orange County.

"This girl is super quick," McBain said of Cunningham. "She's getting better at making solid decisions and she digs a lot of balls. She's kind of an Energizer Bunny out there, just runs everything down. We're never really out of a point with her on the floor."

Offensively, Beckman is relying on Monica Rau.

"She was starting outside last year with Ella and this year she's become our No. 1 option," McBain said. "She had 13 kills [Thursday] night [against Irvine] and 18 in the match before. She's become that person we go to for the big points. She's really stepped up for us."

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