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Boys' Volleyball: Laguna sweeps CdM

Breakers have swept Sea Kings, Newport Harbor for first time in best-of-five matches in same season since 1982.

March 20, 2013|By David Carrillo PeƱaloza

LAGUNA BEACH — The Laguna Beach High boys' volleyball team is doing many things this year it hasn't in quite some time.

The Breakers are traveling to Hawaii to play in a tournament in a couple of weeks. Their coach, Scott Panaro, just thought it would be kind of cool, so he wanted to help them get there.

The upcoming trip to Hawaii is exciting, but it will be hard to trump what Panaro has experienced twice in March. The 31-year-old is living through his own March Madness.

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The second-year Laguna Beach coach has led the Breakers to huge nonleague victories, first a sweep of Newport Harbor at the start of the month, and on Wednesday, a sweep of Corona del Mar.

"That's a dream come true," said Panaro, whose Breakers ran past visiting CdM, 25-20, 25-15, 25-19. "I never would've thought in a million years that would happen."

It doesn't happen often — Laguna Beach sweeping CdM and Newport Harbor in best-of-five matches in the same season. The only other time it did was in 1982, the same year Panaro was born.

Now, you might understand why Panaro called the victory against CdM the biggest as a high school coach. The one prior to that, you guessed it, the 27-25, 26-24, 25-17 sweep at Newport Harbor on March 1, marking Laguna Beach's first sweep of the Sailors in 16 years.

The match against CdM meant more to Panaro. It came against Steve Conti, one of the top high school coaches in the country. There was also some history.

"I've never beaten CdM," Panaro said. "Back as a player, I played at El Toro [before graduating in 2000], we played [the Sea Kings] in league a couple of times and they always crushed us. Both of my varsity years in high school, they knocked me out. When I was coaching at El Toro, I never beat them. Last year [during my debut season with the Breakers], we never beat them. I'm like 1-11 [against the Sea Kings] and it means a lot to have finally gotten them."

The Breakers (5-3) earned their first sweep against CdM (7-7) in 31 years. Yes, they are more experienced this year than CdM, but the Breakers are also a CIF Southern Section Division 2 team and CdM is in Division 1.

The No. 2-ranked school in Division 2 put the pressure on in serve-receive situations and Conti said his Sea Kings, ranked No. 10 in Division 1, didn't withstand it. Conti was well aware that Laguna Beach likes to play at a fast pace, as it serves right as the whistle blows.

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