Eric Beatty of Huntington Beach celebrates after winning a game against Newport Harbor during a Sunset League match against Newport Harbor.

Huntington Beach too strong for Newport Harbor in rematch


As of Thursday, Shane Holdaway’s presence on the volleyball court was in serious doubt.

The senior middle blocker for the Huntington Beach boys volleyball team had missed a week of school due to mononucleosis.

In a crucial Sunset League match, Holdaway played a key role as the second-ranked Oilers earned a 25-22, 25-22, 17-25, 25-21 victory over top-ranked Newport Harbor on Friday.

Holdaway was one of three Oilers (22-1, 6-1) to reach double digits in kills. He finished with 12.

“Just getting back (to practice on Thursday) was good, and it felt good to get more reps in the middle,” he said. “I was pretty light-headed (Friday), but as far as my body, I felt good because I had the rest, but I’m really tired and exhausted.”

The Sailors (18-6, 6-1) won the first meeting between the two teams on April 5, snapping the Oilers’ 121-consecutive match winning streak. That was enough motivation for the Oilers heading into the rematch.

“It never leaves a good taste in your mouth to lose to a league opponent,” Huntington Beach coach Craig Pazanti said. “It was great to come in here and play in their gym. Now we will try and finish out the league and see what happens.

“We’re tied in games (in league), and right now we are in a position to at least share the league title and we have to take care of business.”

In the teams’ first match, the Oilers were missing senior Davey Kim. This time, the Sailors were missing junior middle blocker Spencer Lawrence.

Landon Monroe (16 kills) and Cole Pender (15) carried the Sailors’ attack, coming on strong in the third set.

Eric Beatty had 14 kills for the Oilers, Sean Morrissey added 11 and Kim had nine.

“Overall, I thought we played pretty well,” Newport Harbor coach Rocky Ciarelli said. “Our passing broke down in one game. I thought there were a couple of digs I thought we could have made.

“I thought they (Huntington Beach) played a pretty good match. They handled the ball a little better. They have a lot of weapons and they came in and did a pretty good job.”

In the fourth, the Oilers jumped out to an early lead and never looked back.

“The focus was definitely on our passing and blocking,” Holdaway said. “Those were the things that we struggled with the last time we played them. That whole breaking the streak thing, we felt it was really an unfair chance for us, since we weren’t at our full potential as far as starters went.”

In the Pacific Coast League:

No. 3 Corona del Mar 3, No. 5 Beckman 0: Sam Kobrine led the Sea Kings (19-5, 7-0) with 12 kills and Will Hunter added 11 in a 25-17, 25-16, 25-23 road victory over the Patriots (26-5, 5-2).

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