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El Toro battles but falls in first round

Staff Writer

NORCO – Norco’s boys volleyball team was on a tear midway through its CIF-Southern Section first-round match Tuesday night when the Cougars suddenly hit an inexplicable lull.

The Cougars overcame it and earned the win. They know it won’t be that easy in the next round.

Senior outside hitter Lance Marguet had 12 kills and 17 digs as the host Cougars recovered and swept visiting El Toro, 25-10, 25-22, 25-23.

Norco (17-8) ripped through the first set and was up 17-8 in the second before the match suddenly turned into an adventure.

Part of that appeared to be a letup, and part was due to a resilient El Toro team that wouldn’t fold.

“There were a lot of unforced errors,” Norco coach Matt Survillas said. “I think we had 13 unforced errors in the second set. You can’t play a ranked team in CIF and get away with that. Hopefully, we can change that fast.”

Especially with the team Norco is likely to see in the second round Thursday. Norco will face top-seeded Oak Park, a consecutive-set winner over Long Beach Wilson, with the home site decided by coin flip.

“We can’t play like we did in the second set against them,” Marguet said.

If they play like they did in the first set-and-a-half, though, the Big VIII League co-champion Cougars could make things interesting.

Led by Marguet’s five kills and an ace, Norco had runs of six, four and four consecutive points in the first set en route to a 25-10 win. The Cougars kept it up in the second, rolling to leads of 7-1, 12-3 and 17-6. But El Toro (11-14) fought its way back into the match, getting to within 21-19 and 22-20 before the Cougars closed out the set.

“We just told them we had to dig deep,” said El Toro coach Cory Thissell, whose team was led by junior middle blocker Philip Barker, who had seven kills and seven blocks. “We told them they only get one shot – we can’t let it slip by.”

The Chargers then kept it close in set No. 3, leading for most of it before Norco rallied and held on even after three service errors in the final five points.

“It’s a momentum game,” Survillas said, “and we proved that today.”

Contact the writer: lnegri@pe.com


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