Sea Kings stay alive

Boys' Volleyball

Corona del Mar advances to Division II regional final after beating Santa Margarita in five sets.

May 25, 2011|By David Carrillo PeƱaloza,
(Don Leach / Daily…)

CORONA DEL MAR — The Corona del Mar High boys' volleyball team ruined one opponent's prom last Saturday by claiming the CIF Southern Section Division II title.

The Sea Kings wrecked another one. This time, they did so to get a chance to play for another postseason title.

You cannot say host CdM did not accommodate Santa Margarita on Wednesday. The Sea Kings moved the CIF Southern California Regional Division II semifinal a day early because the Eagles had their prom on Thursday, the original date of the match.

The Eagles began to party too early.

Second-seeded CdM bounced back after Coach Steve Conti said his players got off to their worst start to a match this season. But like every Conti coached team, the Sea Kings battled.

For only the second time this year, the Sea Kings went the distance, outlasting third-seeded Santa Margarita, 10-25, 29-27, 26-24, 23-25, 15-12, to reach the program's first regional final. Corona del Mar avenged an earlier loss to Santa Margarita on March 12.


The Sea Kings (31-4) practically stole the match away from a more physical and senior-laden team. How did the Sea Kings pull it off after a lousy opening set?

"I felt like if we could put some pressure on them, and make them think a little bit, I told our guys, 'Big guys kind of fall hard when they fall,' and that was kind of our goal," Conti said. "Almost hope they kind of question themselves why are we we're even in this match, especially after Game 1.

"Sometimes that happens, a team wins so easily in a Game 1 and sometimes it's easy not to put the metal to the pedal and let off the gas a little bit."

Coach Bryan Cottriel has seen Santa Margarita (33-5) fall apart before, and it was not too long ago. Last Saturday was the previous time.

Five-set matches have not been kind to the Eagles. They lost the CIF Southern Section Division I title to Mater Dei in five, 25-22, 18-25, 25-17, 20-25, 16-18.

Four days later, Santa Margarita found itself in another battle. The Eagles had only themselves to blame. The five-set match against CdM to Cottriel, he said, was a "replay of the Mater Dei game all over again."

Cottriel learned it is not always a good thing to get off to such a hot start.

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