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Sailors show heart, rally

Newport Harbor, without Holbrook, comes back to win in five sets against rival Los Alamitos.

October 07, 2010|By David Carrillo PeƱaloza, david.carrillo@latimes.com
(Kent Treptow / Daily…)

LOS ALAMITOS — Behind the Newport Harbor High bench, trainers worked on the right knee of its best player.

While Alex Holbrook lay on a table, Coach Dan Glenn took a knee in front of his bench and followed the action. What he saw was that the Sailors were in a vulnerable position in a Sunset League showdown at rival Los Alamitos Thursday.

They lost Holbrook after she landed awkwardly on her right leg in the second set of the first meeting between two programs that shared the league title last season. The Sailors were on their way to dropping the third set when someone carried Holbrook out of the gym.

Glenn said the 6-foot junior middle blocker was going to Hoag Memorial Hospital Presbyterian in Newport Beach. On the court, Newport Harbor was in a crisis.

The Griffins did not close things out.

Newport Harbor rallied after facing an eight-point deficit in the fourth set, forcing a decisive fifth set. The Sailors not only shocked themselves, but Los Alamitos, coming from behind to win, 25-22, 15-25, 13-25, 25-23, 15-9, and stay undefeated in league play.

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Newport Harbor (13-6, 2-0 in league), ranked seventh in the CIF Southern Section Division I-AA coaches' poll, stole a match at No. 3 Los Alamitos (17-5, 1-1).

"Definitely," Glenn said as his players celebrated as if they won more than a league match.

The atmosphere in the gym at the start was that of a playoff match. At the end, it felt like a section title match for Newport Harbor.

These two teams played in the section finale last year, with Newport Harbor winning.

The Griffins held the edge against the Sailors this season. They won the previous two meetings, in the quarterfinals of the Durango Classic in Las Vegas and in the final of the Dave Mohs Tournament in Huntington Beach.

At home, Los Alamitos Coach Dave Huber said he "blew it."

"I let up and it cost us," said Huber, who went to his bench in Game 4, with his team holding a 19-12 lead. "I told the girls after, 'I'll take the blame for that and I will never let it happen again.

"I didn't put us in the best situation."

The Sailors fought their way back in Game 4.

Emma Lidington sparked Newport Harbor with three straight service aces, cutting the deficit to 19-17. Then Lauren Demos elevated her play in the middle.

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