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Corona del Mar can't repeat as CIF champion

Boys’ Volleyball

Sea Kings' boys' volleyball team is able to win the first game, but top-ranked Oak Park is too much as it captures Division 2 title in four games.

May 19, 2012|By David Carrillo PeƱaloza
(Kevin Chang )

CYPRESS — Coach Steve Conti has built three dynasties in three decades with the Corona del Mar High boys' volleyball program.

Each of them made runs to CIF Southern Section title matches in consecutive years, from five straight appearances, to three in a row, to two.

The latest group tried to make history Saturday, at the same venue where CdM won the Division 2 title last season.

Leading up to the final, Conti said he kept hearing how hungry his team's opponent looked. Conti and the Sea Kings saw Oak Park up close for the first time in a couple of months and the Wildcats stared them right in the eyes.

"You could see the determination that they have," Conti said.

Oak Park wasn't going home without the top hardware. The Wildcats had been on this stage before and they grew tired of coming up short in section final appearances, losing four times in the big match in the last six seasons.

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Top-seeded Oak Park finally broke through, defeating second-seeded CdM, 22-25, 25-22, 25-17, 25-21, at Cypress College.

The Sea Kings will have to wait until their next dynasty to claim back-to-back crowns for the first time in their program's storied history.

The defending section champion Sea Kings (25-7) fell for the second time against Oak Park (30-6) this season. The first time was at the start of the season. The second time might have ended CdM's season.

Unable to defend the section crown, CdM might not get a chance to defend its CIF Southern California Regional Division II title.

Conti began the rundown of the teams earning berths into next week's regional. The list did not include his own team.

The teams Conti named, South Torrance and Los Angeles Cathedral, won Division 3 and Division 4 section titles, respectively, on Saturday. For the regional tournament, those two programs are in Division II.

The Sea Kings' best shot to keep their season alive was to knock off Oak Park and grab the division's automatic entry into the regional tourney. The section only gets four entries, the fourth is going to Manhattan Beach Mira Costa, which knocked off Los Angeles Loyola in the Division 1 section final.

Things looked promising after CdM took the opening set, becoming the first team in the playoffs to win a set against Oak Park. Just like the Wildcats, the Sea Kings swept each of their three opponents in the previous rounds.

Parker Brown, as he has throughout his senior season, led the way for CdM.

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