Los Alamitos edges past Newport Harbor


LOS ALAMITOS – Following last weekend’s performance at the Orange County Championships, Los Alamitos coach Mike Whitcomb looked at this week as a chance for his team to regroup.

“We had our first major letdown of the year,” Whitcomb said of last Saturday’s performance at the Orange County Championships.

The fifth-ranked Griffins (18-3, 1-0) bounced back this week, first sweeping Long Beach Wilson on Wednesday and then closing the week with a 25-22, 25-23, 25-22 Sunset League home victory over ninth-ranked Newport Harbor (5-10, 0-1) on Friday.

“It wasn’t as smooth as I would have liked (tonight),” Whitcomb said. “But like I told them, it was three tight games and the best thing tonight is that we took each one of them and controlled things at the end.”

Austin Marriott had 10 kills to lead the Griffins. Teddy Howard and Cole Thompson had eight apiece. Harrison Knott added seven and Anthony Wong-Orantes chipped in with six.

The Griffins had just enough firepower down the stretch in each set to hold off the charging Sailors for the victory. In the first set, trailing 22-21, Los Alamitos scored the final four points to take a 1-0 lead.

Newport Harbor led, 23-22, in the second set, but the Griffins snatched the victory away scoring the final three points.

In the third set, the Griffins scored the final three points to break a 22-22 tie to end the match.

“We’re trying to get through this midseason blues,” Whitcomb said. “We won at Foothill (Varsity Classic) and we had a 11/2-week-long hangover from the celebration. Now that league has started, there is something tangible to fight for.

“We play all of these preseason games and the record counts, but it’s the league games that are a little easier for them to see and say, ‘OK, this means what place we will come in,’ which leads to (playoff) seeding.”

Cole Pender led the Sailors with 13 kills. Grady Kimme had 10.

The teams will meet again April 21 at Newport Harbor.

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