Rally Kings once again

Boys' Volleyball

CdM responds from loss in first set to beat Westlake in four and capture its first CIF regional crown.

May 28, 2011|By Matt Szabo,
(Kevin Chang / Daily…)

IRVINE — The Corona del Mar High boys' volleyball team traveled to Irvine for all of its away league matches this year, and Coach Steve Conti said at some point his Sea Kings got stagnant.

Sure, they were beating down their Pacific Coast League foes, but Conti didn't see CdM playing its best volleyball.

CdM returned to Irvine on Saturday for the last match of a magical run, and again the Sea Kings weren't clicking at the start of the match.

No one on the CdM bench was worried this time. The world "rally" itself could have been the Sea Kings' rallying cry, and they had one more in store at Irvine Valley College.

They saved one of their most impressive wins for last and beat Westlake, 17-25, 25-20, 25-23, 25-20, for the program's first CIF Southern California Regional Division II title.

The win was emotional for the Sea Kings in front of at least 1,000 of their supporters. Senior Brennan Anderson clutched the CIF championship plaque tight to his chest after the victory, making sure no one could take it away.


"I've got this and I'm not letting go," the Ohio State-bound Anderson said after pounding down 14 kills, tied for the team led with junior Parker Brown.

CdM (32-4) made sure Westlake (26-6) didn't end the Sea Kings' season on a sour note. The CIF Southern Section Division II champions did start slow, succumbing to a big Westlake block (six blocks in the first set) at first.

But the Sea Kings responded after dropping the opening set, just as they did in beating Laguna Beach in four sets in the CIF final, as well storming back to defeat Santa Margarita in five in Wednesday's regional semifinal.

"[Saturday] wasn't as bad as Game 1 against Santa Margarita," said grinning Stanford-bound senior middle blocker Spencer Haly. "So that was a good thing. It wasn't 25-10. We'd made a little more progress at the end of Game 1, so I knew we were picking up our play. We knew that if we just came out and battled like we did all year, we'd be in good shape."

Brown got going in the second set, recording five of his kills to help the No. 2-seeded Sea Kings pull away late. It was Anderson who got hot near the end, but really the Sea Kings had any number of weapons they could use.

"This is a team that didn't have a [limit] for where it could go, for its potential," Brown said. "When this team starts to get going, nothing can stop it."

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