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Servite stumbles early, but pulls out victory
The Servite boys volleyball team was thankful to be pushed to the limit by Laguna Hills in Tuesday’s CIF-SS first-round playoff match.
If it ended any other way, the season would be over for the Friars, since they lost two of the first three sets.
However, the Friars found a way to stay alive in the match and eventually triumphed, 21-25, 25-23, 23-25, 25-23, 15-12, over the visiting Hawks.
Servite (19-11) will face Mira Costa of Manhattan Beach in the second round Thursday night. The site will be determined today.
“We hear everyday from our coaches, they say play our style of volleyball,” Servite senior outside hitter Matthew Johnson said. “‘Play Servite volleyball, do what we know we can, play consistent because the more consistent team will win.’
“I think (early) we were a little up and down with our passing. If you don’t pass well, you don’t get a good swing. Once we locked down our passing, we won some games.”
Johnson was one of those leading the late-match charge. He finished with 26 kills. Garrett Halsey had 13. Setter Grant Mooney had 49 assists.
“We talked about getting back to our basics,” Servite coach Matt Marrujo said. “We wanted to focus on one play at a time and (being) consistent ...
“These guys grind … Ff we had to play a sixth or seventh game they would have figured out a way to get through it.”
The Hawks (21-10), who finished in third place in the South Coast League, nearly pulled off the upset. Zach Perry helped lead the Hawks with 27 kills.
The Friars took the lead for good, 7-6, in the fifth set on a kill from Johnson. They added to their lead on another kill from Johnson and a block for a 9-6 lead, forcing the Hawks into a timeout.
“They (Servite) played disciplined defense,” Laguna Hills coach Dave Crandall said. “We got very lazy as far as where we were on the court.
“We figured that if we could keep the ball on them, we would win the match. We got sloppy coming in … We should have won game four and been done.”
Also in Division 1:
Huntington Beach 3, Esperanza 0: The top-seeded and two-time defending champion Oilers (33-0) opened the playoffs with a 25-18, 25-17, 25-16 victory at home. TJ DeFalco led the Oilers with 17 kills.
In Division 2:
Aliso Niguel 3, West Ranch of Stevenson Ranch 0: Jack Schubert and JJ Jelnick had 11 and 10 kills, respectively, for the host Wolverines (27-5) in the 25-10, 25-16, 25-12 victory.
Laguna Beach 3, Santiago of Corona 0: Pete Obradovich had 13 kills and Barry Greenough had 10 as the Breakers (17-8) swept their first-round match, 25-17, 25-15, 25-15. Dane Olson had nine kills
In Division 4:
St. Margaret’s 3, Pacifica of Oxnard 0: Matt Nicholas led third-seeded Tartans (14-4) with 17 kills in a 25-9, 25-9, 25-20 home victory.
Crean Lutheran 3, Bolsa Grande 0: Riley Evans had 18 kills to lead the host Saints to a 25-10, 25-13, 25-21 victory.
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