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Griffins handle Sailors

Girls' Volleyball

Unforced errors, fatigue cost Newport Harbor in battle of perenniel Sunset League title contenders.

October 07, 2011|By Barry Faulkner

NEWPORT BEACH — With more than a quarter century of coaching high school volleyball, Newport Harbor girls' head man Dan Glenn has developed an impressive tool belt when it comes to in-season repairs.

So, after the Sailors lost a crucial Sunset League match, 25-23, 13-25, 27-25, 25-11, to visiting Los Alamitos on Thursday, Glenn immediately began fixating on elements of his team's play that he could, well, fix.

One thing he will not be able to tinker with, however, is a scheduling anomaly that all but cost his team the benefits of a home match against the rival Griffins, who along with the Sailors have each claimed three league titles since Newport Harbor joined the league in 2006. Both teams have two outright crowns and they shared the championship in 2006.

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With Newport Harbor's football team playing host to Mira Costa a little more than a football field away from the gymnasium, the bleachers that usually hold dozens of Sailors student volleyball rooters were virtually empty.

Conversely, Los Alamitos, for which the football team is on a bye week, brought a large, loud, proud and organized crowd, allowing the Griffins to rely on vocal support when things got tough.

The Sailors, in fact, made things tough for the visitors (23-2, 3-0 in league), ranked No. 1 in CIF Southern Section Division I-AA.

Newport Harbor (13-4, 1-1), ranked No. 4 in CIF Division I-AA, held opening-game leads of 19-16, 20-18 and 23-21, before letting the Griffins off the hook.

The Tars trounced the visitors in Game 2, and led, 8-5, in Game 3, in which they later scored six straight points to pull even at 24-24.

Glenn cited too many unforced errors (the Tars missed 14 serves and had 18 hitting miscues while Los Al missed only nine serves and had 11 hitting errors), as well as a lack of conditioning for the primary reasons for defeat.

"I felt like we could maybe get on some rolls against these guys, but you can't miss that many serves against a team like Los Al," Glenn said. "I knew we had to serve tough, so it's kind of a fine line. But I felt like we were a little tired, because [the Griffins] rally. One of the things [the Griffins] are really good at is keeping the ball in play, and they don't panic. They won the long rallies and we looked like a tired team. But they are a really good opponent."

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