"That's been our Achilles' heel all season long," CdM Coach Steve
Conti said of the Sea Kings' errors. "But I don't need a banner hanging
on the wall to know if my team worked hard. They're champions in my
CdM senior Brian Gallagher led the fourth-seeded Sea Kings with 14
kills and six digs, while senior Charlie Alshuler chipped in 11 kills and
10 digs. Evan Burden triggered the attack with 35 assists.
"Brian brought his complete game to the table," Conti said. "All year,
we've had different people step up and have a great match. Brian's hard
hitting and Charlie's excellent defense were very nice to see out there."
Unforced errors, combined with the Santa Ynez tall timbers, made an
unsettling combination for the defending Division I champion Sea Kings
(15-7), who were making their fifth straight title-match appearance.
"We walked through what I thought they would try to accomplish,"
Pirates Coach Chip Fenenga said. "Basically we wanted to serve away from
No. 10 (Gallagher) and No. 16 (Forrest Mack) and let our aggressive play
The Pirates, winners of three straight section crowns and six, dating
back to 1995, were led by 6-foot-8 junior Matt McKinney, who pounded 24
kills and had eight blocks.
"He was all over the place," Conti said of McKinney. "They did a good
job of moving him around and keeping him involved at all times. It seemed
like he was everywhere out there."
McKinney made his presence felt right away with two kills and two
blocks as the second-seeded Pirates (20-4) jumped out to a 7-2 advantage
in the opening game.
"The opening half of the first game was pure adrenalin," Conti said.
"We just had to settle down and regain some composure."
Which is exactly what the Sea Kings did. Burden sparked a 5-0 run with
a block and a kill for points as CdM tied the game at 7-7.
In a game which had a number of momentum changes, Santa Ynez regained
control with a 4-0 run, thanks to a block by 6-7 J.T. Gilmour, an ace by
Tommy Witt and a kill by Jeff Urton.
CdM cut the deficit to 11-9, but the Pirates took advantage of Sea
King mistakes for three straight points and ended Game 1 with an emphatic
kill by McKinney.