Maybe, Conti said, it was a little bit of a hangover.
Nevertheless, the Sea Kings (30-4) managed to sweep their fourth opponent in the postseason. Do not expect a short match Thursday, when CdM plays host to third-seeded Santa Margarita (33-4) in the regional semifinals at 7 p.m.
"We're certainly going to need to pick up our level of play," Conti said after learning Santa Margarita swept Jordan of Los Angeles, 25-18, 25-19, 25-22, to advance to the regional semis. "We're thankful we get to host [the Eagles].
"This is kind of a new tournament. In the last tournament in CIF, we were able to kind of pick up our level of play as the tournament went on and that's exactly what we're going to need to do in this regional tournament."
The regional tournament is shorter than the section one, so CdM has to get better in a hurry. All CdM needs to do now is win two matches to claim the program's first regional title.
The Sea Kings have made it look easy in their five postseason matches, only Laguna Beach was able to extend a match against CdM past three sets.
Corona del Mar and Santa Margarita played a best-of-three quarterfinal match on March 12 at the Best of the West tournament in Poway. The Eagles rallied and beat the Sea Kings, 34-36, 27-25, 15-10, en route to reaching the tournament's title match.
Conti has not forgotten how that match got away.
"We won the first one, 36-34, and we were up, 20-12, in the second set and lost," said Conti, whose team went on to place fifth at the Best of the West. "They're definitely going to be a handful. They got two stud outsides [in Spencer Buckley and Ryan Baine], probably the best one-two punch in CIF, and arguably the best setter [in Taylor Hammond] in CIF, too.