CdM pulls off 'awesome' rally to knock out Huntington Beach


NEWPORT BEACH – Down two sets to none against the reigning three-time CIF-SS boys volleyball champion Huntington Beach, Corona del Mar faced a test in a third set that was tied 18 times up to 23-all.

Then it all flipped.

Corona del Mar broke a furiously tight third set and surged all the way back to defeat Huntington Beach, 20-25, 23-25, 25-23, 25-16, 15-7, in a CIF-SS Division 1 quarterfinal match at Corona del Mar High on Saturday.

Corona del Mar advances to the semifinals to play Mira Costa of Manhattan Beach on Wednesday

“It’s awesome,” Corona del Mar coach Steve Conti said. “I think the volleyball gods were kind of on our side. I don’t know if they always have been, but they were tonight.”

It seemed like Huntington Beach (29-2) was going to leave little doubt as it took the first two sets over Corona del Mar (23-5)

CdM opened early leads in both sets before the Oilers pushed into the lead and outpaced the Sea Kings down the stretch.

“It’s not that we weren’t playing hard,” Conti said. “It’s almost as if we were playing too hard. I think we got caught up in all the hoopla and everything. Once we settled down with our block, I think that was kind of huge.”

The third set was played at a feverish pace as the two sides fought to 18 ties with CdM getting the largest lead at just three points once.

The Sea Kings broke the final tie at 23-all to close out the third, 25-23.

“I think we had chances to get out of here in three.” Huntington Beach coach Craig Pazanti said. “It was good volleyball. The biggest thing is the passing stuff. It broke down.”

CdM rode the momentum through the fourth set, 25-16, and exploded to an 8-0 lead in the fifth to cruise to the win.

Sam Kobrine led CdM with 20 kills and Matt Cvrtlik had 53 assists.

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