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CdM learns tough lesson in loss to Loyola
NEWPORT BEACH – Two perennial powerhouses, two top-10 CIF-SS Division 1 teams, two unblemished league records.
That was the scene in a buzzing Corona del Mar gym Saturday afternoon when the Sea Kings played host to Loyola of Los Angeles in a nonleague match.
The Cubs won this iteration, 25-22, 25-21, 23-25, 25-22, and handed CdM a major wake-up call: If it doesn’t become more consistent, it won’t beat the likes of Loyola in the playoffs.
“We just get in stretches where we make unforced errors,” CdM coach Steve Conti said. “ … There’s no lead that’s too big against some of the good teams in this division we’re in.”
The Sea Kings (17-5, 5-0 Pacific Coast League) looked every bit like the county’s No. 3 team in the first half of sets. But as soon as CdM scored 15 points, it suddenly shut down. The Cubs (15-2, 8-0 Mission League) outscored CdM, 52-28, from that point on in the match.
Loyola’s balanced attack had a lot to do with that. Outside hitters Will Bantle and JP Reily combined for 20 kills and 6-foot-10 middle blocker Jack Truman added nine kills.
CdM’s individual numbers were good enough for a win: Sam Kobrine and Mitch Haly combined for 29 kills and 4.5 blocks. Will Hunter had five blocks, Brandon Browning had seven kills and six digs and Kevin Kobrine notched three aces.
But the team numbers were ugly enough for the loss — namely the 48 errors on Loyola’s 98 total points.
“I feel like we just didn’t come out firing like we usually do,” Browning said. “ … We could have come together to build and build and build. They just got on runs and kind of pushed us out a little bit.
“I just think all of us really want to play them again and be able to bounce back.”
CdM entertains Woodbridge on Tuesday, then clashes on the road with No. 5 Beckman on Thursday.