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Huntington Beach record win streak comes to end
HUNTINGTON BEACH - The Huntington Beach boys volleyball team was in an unfamiliar position after the first set of its Sunset League match against Newport Harbor on Tuesday.
A couple of sets later, the Oilers were in even more foreign territory.
Eventually, seventh-ranked Newport Harbor did what has been unimaginable in recent years and knocked off the Oilers, 25-13, 24-26, 25-16, 25-21, snapping the program’s 121-consecutive match winning streak that dated to 2013.
The Oilers broke the previous record of 112 consecutive victories set by Salem High of New Hampshire (2004-09) earlier this season.
During their streak, the Oilers (17-1, 1-1) dropped just 20 sets and had just three of the traditional best-of-five matches extend to five sets.
Huntington Beach’s last loss came to San Clemente in the Orange County Championships on March 18, 2013. They eventually won that season and have recorded two consecutive 40-0 seasons (2014 and 2015).
“I give super credit to them,” Huntington Beach coach Craig Pazanti said of the Sailors. “They came in here and played harder than us. We didn’t look right from the first point, so we have to regroup and come back.
“At some point it was inevitable that we were going to lose, obviously you don’t want it to happen in league, but I would rather have it happen here then later in the year. It (the streak) put Huntington Beach high school volleyball back on the map where we needed to be. and at the same time, we will move on.”
This was the the teams’ second meeting of the season. Huntington Beach swept Newport Harbor (14-5, 2-0) in two sets (25-17, 25-18) the finals of the Best of the West Invitational on March 12.
“They definitely had the better hand then,” Newport Harbor’s Spencer Lawrence said. “We were running a 6-2, now we’re running a 5-1 (with Carlos Rivera at setter). With only one senior, we had to have some younger guys step into leadership roles.
“Our goal for the season was to win Sunset League and beating a team that’s been undefeated for that long puts a lot more on it.”
The Oilers rallied from a 24-22 deficit in the second set to even the match at 1-1. Newport Harbor led throughout the third set. In the final set, Newport Harbor took the lead for good at 18-17 on a kill from Dayne Chalmers and eventually finished the match off.
“To me, we want to win the Sunset League and that’s what this was about,” Newport Harbor coach Rocky Ciarelli said. “What they (Huntington Beach) have done, winning 121 matches … you’re talking about Orange County, Southern Section, I can’t see this ever happening again.
“It is amazing that they were able to do this. They’re a good volleyball team. For them to win those tournaments and for them to play that well and be that focused, that’s amazing.”
Cole Pender led the Sailors with 15 kills, Chalmers (12) and Spencer Lawrence (10) both reached double digits.
Eric Beatty led the Oilers with 13 kills.
The teams meet again April 22 at Newport Harbor.
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