|OCVarsity Top 10: Clutch home run and lacrosse championships|
Highlights include a go-ahead two-run home run in the 7th, a lacrosse championship, an amazing leaping catch, a massive volleyball kill, and more! Video by Jonathan Khamis, OCVarsity.com.
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San Clemente wins five-set battle with Huntington Beach
SAN CLEMENTE - The anatomy of an upset, though quite simple in its construction, is incredibly difficult to pull off.
Strike first, absorb body blows, gather momentum, minimize mistakes, hang on for as long as physically possible then, when the opportunity presents itself, attack.
Check. Check. Check. Check. Check and check for San Clemente in its five-set thriller of a victory over visiting Huntington Beach, 26-24, 23-25, 19-25, 25-23, 15-10, in the CIF-SS Division 1 second round on Thursday night.
“I thought Huntington Beach played well all match,” Tritons coach Ken Goldstone said. “After they won the third set I said to the guys, ‘Hopefully, they’ll come down. If we keep the intensity up we have a good chance to keep this match going.’ ”
Lucas Yoder and Arek Halaj led the hosts with 17 and 16 kills, respectively, but no exclamation point during the two-plus hour match was bigger than Mike Blakeley’s eighth and final one.
“Gosh,” Blakeley said, reflecting on his match-winning kill. “Everything was going through my mind. I was overflowed with emotion. Just glad we won because Huntington Beach is a good team. Everyone played together and as a team all match.”
After taking a momentum-building first set, San Clemente (26-6) dropped a closely contested second then found itself in a 10-all tie in the third.
Deadlocked, Huntington Beach (22-4) quickly seized control of the set - and the match to a much larger extent - by claiming eight of the next 10 points and closing it out, 25-19.
“Keep fighting,” Blakeley said of his team’s mentality heading into the fourth set. “We knew that we played well in the second and third sets and that they (Huntington Beach) got hot at the right time. We just kept playing together.
“Some teams may hang their heads in that spot, but we kept our heads up and kept playing.”
In another closely contested set, San Clemente reached the 20-point plateau first for the first time all night but still had to survive 21-all and 22-all ties before evening the match with three of the final four points.
“That’s typical volleyball,” Goldstone said. “A team will get hot during a set and you have to ride it out. Our guys kept their focus and in the fourth set we did a better job making sure the middle was blocked. That was the key.”
In the closing set, San Clemente grabbed leads of 5-2 and 10-5 before finishing the match, 15-10.
“We always end practice with intense pace, 15-point games,” Goldstone said. “We had our energy guys out there providing a spark and our guys played hard and with emotion. That’s what we need to do to keep advancing.”