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Boys volleyball: Sailors smother San Clemente

May 15, 2002

Barry Faulkner

NEWPORT BEACH - Those looking for Newport Harbor High heroes

Tuesday night, needed peripheral vision. But, amid a lineup of standouts

in the Sailors' 15-8, 10-15, 15-4, 16-14 CIF Southern Section Division II

second-round boys volleyball victory over visiting San Clemente, senior

outside hitter Brian Gaeta seemed to be jumping just a little higher and

swinging just a tad harder than his talented teammates.

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"It's just the playoffs," said Gaeta, who pounded a match-high 25

kills to help the Tars (26-6) advance to Friday's quarterfinal at No.

4-seeded Royal (22-3) in Simi Valley. "League is great, but it's all

about CIF. That's the way it has been for me in football and volleyball."

An All-CIF receiver who has all but finalized plans to play football

at Colorado State, Gaeta brings gridiron intensity to the volleyball

court.

"He plays volleyball like a football player," summed up Newport Coach

Dan Glenn, who was pleased with his team's balance against the Tritons

(15-5).

"(Senior setter Loyd Wright) did a great job of spreading the ball

around tonight and our balance helped us key on the other team's

weaknesses. We're to the point where I don't have to change my lineup."

Harbor did utilize its normal substitution pattern, but the dominance

of standouts Gaeta, Wright, Greg Perrine, Erik Peterson, Brett Perrine

and Jamie Diefenbach, was never more apparent than the deciding final

moments of Tuesday's two-hour tussle.

After losing leads of 4-0, 7-5 and 8-6, San Clemente pulled away from

a 9-9 tie for a 13-9 advantage, bringing the real threat of a rally

scored fifth game.

But, after a Triton hitting error gave Harbor its 10th point of the

game, crucial kills by Brett Perrine (sideout), Greg Perrine Peterson,

Gaeta and Gaeta (all for points) again pushed the hosts to a 14-13 edge.

After the South Coast League champions pulled even on a Harbor error,

the last of the Tritons' 19 service errors gave the Sailors the chance to

close out the final match on their home floor as four-game victors.

A Peterson stuff block put the hosts on top, 15-14, then Diefenbach, a

6-foot-8 sophomore, reached high to tip an overpass to the floor,

triggering a celebration from the appreciative Harbor faithful.

"That was very important," Wright said of avoiding the often

treacherous decider. "The best team doesn't always win in rally scoring."

Wright amassed 66 assists, most of which went to the senior trio of

Gaeta, Greg Perrine (21 kills) and Peterson (14). Diefenbach, however,

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