CIF-SS boys volleyball semifinal previews
Here is a look at the four CIF-SS boys volleyball semifinals, involving county teams.
All semifinals are set for Wednesday at 7 p.m., unless noted
Corona del Mar (27-5) at No. 1 Mira Costa (25-5)
Outlook: The teams met earlier this season in the Clash of the Titans in Hawaii. Mira Costa won that match in five sets. The top-seeded Mustangs finished first in the Bay League. They’ve swept Northwood and Tesoro in the playoffs and defeated Newbury Park in four sets. You can always count on a CdM team to start playing its best as the season heads to the finish line. Since losing a four-set match to Loyola of Los Angeles (Apr. 16), CdM has won nine consecutive, eight by sweeps. Saturday, it did have a much-needed three-set streak to rally from a 0-2 hole to defeat Huntington Beach in five sets. Sam Kobrine led the Sea Kings with 20 kills. Brandon Browning had 15. Mitch Haly and Will Hunter had nine and eight, respectively. For the Mustangs, Jackson Wedbush (13 kills) and setter Rob Mullahey (40 assists) helped lead the way in the quarterfinals over Tesoro. Roy McFarland had nine kills and 10 digs.
Beckman (33-5) at No. 2 Loyola (26-2)
Outlook: The Cubs lost to Newport Harbor at the Best of the West Tournament in March and were swept by Mira Costa in their nonleague match (Mar. 18). Since the loss to Mira Costa, second-seeded Loyola has dropped just six sets. Loyola was able to get a bit of revenge on Mira Costa, winning in four sets at the Santa Barbara Tournament of Champions. Beckman was swept by Corona del Mar in both meetings and missed out on the Pacific Coast League title. Junior outside hitter Spencer Olivier had 19 kills in each of the first three rounds. The Patriots have proven to be more than just Olivier though. In the first round, Adam Bauer, Josh Keough and Brayden Wiley combined for 19 kills. In the five-set victory over Newport Harbor, Bauer, Keough, Jack Mathews and Wiley combined for 35. Setter Austin McBain also had five. In their four-set victory over Palos Verdes, Keough, Mathews, McBain and Wiley combined for 32. So as you can see, balance is the key for the Patriots. Loyola’s roster is loaded with juniors and seniors and that means experience in moments like this, led by Adam Lee (NYU), Casey McGarry (UCSB), Jack Truman, Ian Parish and Davis Boehle.
Cypress (19-1) at No. 1 Saddleback Valley Christian (33-3), 6 p.m.
Outlook: The Warriors have their sights set on making history. SVC is vying to become just the fourth boys volleyball program to win four consecutive CIF titles. SVC’s three losses have come to Huntington Beach and twice to Oak Park (in the Redondo Union Classic and Dos Pueblos Invitational). Aside from those three matches, SVC has been nearly flawless dropping four sets. Cypress is perhaps the best story so far this season and especially the playoffs. The Centurions under coach Alex Griffiths went undefeated in the Empire League (11-0) and has just one loss this season. “It has been a good ride,” Griffiths said. “Hopefully we can make it all the way.” The success of the Centurions starts with setter Christopher Cons. Andy and Kyle Farmer are also valuable pieces to Cypress’ season, as are Erik Papke, Zach Ramsey and Cody Sweet. Will it be enough to slow down the Warriors? SVC, led by seniors Noah Dyer, Jon Minsberg, Trevor O'Reilly and Spencer Alden, has been focused on moments like this for the entire season and have been dominant in the playoffs.
No. 3 Flintridge Prep (24-4) at No. 2 Crean Lutheran (25-2)
Outlook: The Rebels have been extended to five sets in two of the first three rounds. They edged Tustin in five in the second round and Redlands in the quarterfinals. Senior Dante Fregoso leads the Rebels attack. He had 31 kills against Tustin and 36 against Redlands. The Saints also had to survive a five-set match. The Saints defeated Rio Mesa 18-16 in the fifth set of their quarterfinal match to advance. It was the first five-set match of the season for the Saints. The Saints have won 14 consecutive matches. Riley Evans led the Saints with 15 kills in the victory over Rio Mesa.