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Sea Kings cooled off

October 21, 2003

Barry Faulkner

Whatever mystique created by 15 straight Pacific Coast League

victories or lingering from six CIF Southern Section titles dating

back to 1977, lasted about as long as an ice cube on the sun-baked

sidewalk Monday afternoon.

Corona del Mar High, with a storied tradition and an unbeatable

label of late in the PCL, received a chilling reception from host

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Northwood, which claimed a 25-18, 27-25, 25-20 victory to assume

control of the league race.

The win gave the Timberwolves (13-4, 5-0 in league), ranked No. 1

in CIF Division III-AA, a leg up on the Sea Kings (13-7, 3-1). It was

also Northwood's first decision over CdM, a team that had defeated

the Timberwolves in a best-of-three match in the Orange County

Championships earlier this season.

"I was surprised it was a sweep," Northwood Coach John Gaido said.

"With [the Sea Kings] and their tradition, I knew we had to do

something right to beat them."

Northwood did little wrong, capitalizing on its size up front and

limiting mistakes, according to Gaido.

"We were effective with our serves and, I thought [the Sea Kings]

had a difficult time stopping our middle blockers," he said.

The 5-foot-11 Alex Fell and 5-10 Lindsay Macias were strong in the

middle for the Timberwolves, who also benefited from the net presence

of 6-1 Laura Black.

Gaido theorized that the Monday road trip, which included a bus

ride during the sizzling afternoon heat, may have made CdM, ranked

No. 2 in CIF Division III-A, more susceptible to being knocked off.

CdM Coach Bill Christiansen, however, refused to accept any

excuses.

"We just played poorly," Christiansen said of his team's first

league loss since the eighth match of the 2001 PCL campaign.

Christiansen said serving woes, as well as slow starts in each

game, helped the Timberwolves gain confidence and momentum

throughout.

"We usually don't start slowly and we usually don't miss as many

serves as we did today," Christiansen said. "We spotted them leads in

every game. And when we started to come back, it seemed like we

missed a serve and it killed our momentum."

CdM rallied from deficits of 5-1 and 18-12 to take a 24-22 lead in

the second game. But a service error and a net violation helped the

Timberwolves pull even in the rally-scoring format and they never

trailed the rest of the match.

Northwood scored the first six points of the deciding game and

led, 7-1, before CdM whittled away, eventually pulling to within

10-9. The visitors stayed close at 16-15 and 19-17, but the

Timberwolves pulled away to close out the sweep.

Junior outside hitter Jordan Smith had seven kills and 13 digs,

while CdM teammates Lindsay Ensign (seven kills) and Lauren Snell

(seven kills) were also key.

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