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Sailors are denied in five

Boys’ Volleyball

After winning first two sets against powerhouse Huntington Beach, Newport Harbor can't close out match and watches Oilers celebrate league championship.

April 27, 2012|By David Carrillo PeƱaloza
  • Huntington Beach High's Andrew Tenbrink, left, celebrates after the Oilers won the last three games to defeat Newport Harbor in a Sunset League match Friday.
Huntington Beach High's Andrew Tenbrink, left,… (KEVIN CHANG, HB…)

NEWPORT BEACH — Outside of the Newport Harbor High gym, a woman gave Huntington Beach Coach Craig Pazanti two gifts.

She handed him special drinks.

"I don't know what it is," Pazanti said of the yellow liquid in the plastic bottles. "I don't ask either."

Pazanti likes the drink so much he could've bathed in it Friday night.

It was time for him and his boys' volleyball team to celebrate. The Oilers preferred a drink made of mangoes, peaches and oranges to Gatorade after they rallied to win the outright Sunset League title.

The Oilers killed any hope the defending-champion Sailors had in sharing the crown by winning 21-25, 21-25, 26-24, 25-20, 15-13 on the road.

Oh, the Sailors were so close to becoming the first team in league to knock off Huntington Beach. They took the first two sets and all they needed was another one to move into a first-place tie in league with the Oilers with one match left.

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The Sailors never won again.

The last three sets went to Huntington Beach, which remained perfect in league. The Oilers also became the first team in league to sweep the two-match series against Newport Harbor since the Sailors rejoined the Sunset League five years ago.

The team Newport Harbor replaced in league back then was the Oilers. In their second season back in the Sunset League, the Oilers (20-3, 9-0 in league) are No. 1 again.

"I feel like after last year, they had a little bit of a chip on their shoulder to come out and perform this year," said Pazanti, whose team finished third in league last year. "They didn't want to be co-champions. They wanted to win the league outright."

At the start, the Oilers, ranked No. 6 in the CIF Southern Section Division 1 poll, sure didn't play as if they wanted to be alone atop the league.

Clary Carr, a 6-foot-5 outside hitter, and Kevin Rakestraw, a 6-11 middle blocker, stood in the way.

The Newport Harbor duo played a big part in the Oilers dropping the opening set.

No team in league had taken a set against the Oilers in the previous eight contests. They had swept every league opponent.

After two sets, Huntington Beach was on the verge of losing in three to the 10th-ranked Sailors (20-8, 7-2).

"I didn't say much after the first [set]," Pazanti said. "After the second set, we had a little more of a heart-to-heart [talk]."

Whatever Pazanti said, the Oilers responded.

The Sailors never let up in the last three sets, hanging with Huntington Beach throughout. Thirty-three times the score was even in the final three sets.

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