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KYUSUNG GONG, STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER
Huntington Beach's TJ DeFalco, left, leaps to smash the ball during the CIF-SS Division 1 semifinals match against Mira Costa at Huntington Beach on Wednesday.

Huntington Beach hits 100 as it charges into final

STAFF WRITER

The key to success for the Huntington Beach boys volleyball team is the trust the players have in each other.

That was on display Wednesday in the CIF-SS Division 1 semifinal. The top-seeded Oilers had a couple of unsung stars shine brightly, leading the way to 25-15, 26-24, 25-18 victory over visiting Mira Costa of Manhattan Beach.

The victory was the 100th consecutive for the Oilers (36-0). The national record is 114 in a row.

Huntington Beach will attempt to win its third consecutive CIF-SS title when it faces Corona del Mar Saturday at Cerritos College at 7:30 p.m.

Shane Holdaway was the MVP of the match,” Huntington Beach coach Craig Pazanti said. “To have Lucas Devries, serving sub, come in down, 24-21, and serve five straight points is incredible.

“You have different guys stepping up. These guys … their will, they just never break. They just keep playing hard no matter what the score is, and they just want to play every point like it is their last.”

The match’s momentum was on the verge of taking a sharp swing against the Oilers in the second set.

The Mustangs had set point, 24-21, but then Devries and his float serve came on the court and allowed the Oilers to start clawing their way back. They eventually tied the score at 24-24 on a hitting error from Mira Costa. Sean Morrissey gave the Oilers set point on a block and they closed the set on another error by the Mustangs.

“We started to fall apart a little bit,” Holdaway said of the fourth set. “We had a timeout (at 24-21) and Coach Craig told us, ‘this is our set, don’t let them think that they can take it.’

“We kept fighting and things turned out well. They’re a really good team, but we’ve never been a situation like that. It was a really good test to see how we would react. Devries was clutch. His deep float serve is gnarly, even the guys on our team can’t pass it sometimes. It was really good to have him serving down the stretch.”

TJ DeFalco led the Oilers with 15 kills. Ben Vaught and Sean Morrissey had five kills apiece. Setter Josh Tuaniga had 29 assists. Holdaway, a middle blocker, had six kills and 61/2 blocks.

The Oilers took the lead for good in the third set at 12-11 and never looked back.

Also in Division 1:

Corona del Mar 3, Loyola of Los Angeles 0: The Sea Kings avenged two regular-season losses to the Cubs with a 28-26, 25-22, 28-26 victory at Loyola.

Ryan Moss led the Sea Kings with 14 kills, and Kevin Fults had 10 kills, five blocks and 13 digs.

“This is a big win for our program,” CdM coach Steve Conti said. “We definitely played with a sense of purpose and played closer to our potential.”

In the Division 4 semifinals:

St. Margaret’s 3, Flintridge Prep 0: The Tartans, behind 17 kills from Matt Nicholas, defeated the visiting Rebels, 25-18, 25-20, 25-16. This was the third consecutive semifinals appearance for St. Margaret’s.

St. Margaret’s will face Saddleback Valley Christian in Saturday’s final. SVC swept Santa Ynez, 25-11, 25-15, 25-15, in the other semifinal.

Contact the writer: dcalhoun@ocregister.com


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