But CdM (21-8) went on an 8-0 run midway through the first set, highlighted by three service aces from sophomore Parker Brown. That spurt led to a 22-12 advantage.
“We played pretty good,” Brown said. “My coach told me to start going for it [on serves] and start hitting it as hard as I can. And my teammates encouraged me.”
The Sea Kings put away the game and also started the second set on a 5-0 run behind two more aces from senior Joey Booth. For the match, CdM had 10 aces, four by Brown and two each by Booth, Nick Curci and Weston Nielsen.
“This match worried me,” Conti said. “I knew a couple league champions would get some tough draws ... But you really can’t control your draw, what you can control is how well you go out and play, and that’s what we tried to do tonight. We knew they were big and athletic, and our goal was to try to out-ball control them and serve really tough. I thought we served at them really tough, and that created some scoring opportunities for us.”
UC Santa Barbara-bound Nielsen and USC-bound Booth each had a match-high 12 kills for CdM. Brown had seven kills and 18 assists, and Curci added 15 helpers. Senior middle John Christian had five kills and junior Brennan Andersen added eight digs for the Sea Kings.
UCLA-bound Diablos outside Spencer Rowe had seven kills to lead his team.
Corona del Mar, which earned impressive nonleague victories over Loyola and rival Newport Harbor in the past two-plus weeks, came out strong again after edging out the Battle of the Bay last Friday in five sets.
“I was also concerned [with Tuesday’s match] being so close to Friday’s match against Newport Harbor,” Conti said. “Mission’s capable of beating a lot of very, very good teams. Sometimes I guess the coaches worry more than the players do. These guys seemed pretty poised out on the floor, which was nice.”