Los Alamitos survives fifth set, earns spot in playoffs


FOUNTAIN VALLEY Through the first two league meetings, there wasn’t much that separated the Edison and Los Alamitos boys volleyball teams.

They had met twice during the regular season, the Chargers won their home match in five sets and the Griffins did the same on their court. Neither team won consecutive sets in the first two matches.

Wednesday, in the third-place Sunset League tiebreaker, the 10th-ranked Griffins couldn’t have been more thrilled to be extended to a fifth set again.

Los Alamitos dropped the first two sets, but then rallied to win the final three against ninth-ranked Edison, to emerge victorious, 17-25, 27-29, 25-20, 25-17, 15-5. The match took place at Fountain Valley HS.

The Griffins will be the Sunset League third-place team in the upcoming CIF-SS Division 1 playoffs. The Chargers will apply for an at-large berth.

The CIF-SS pairings will be released Friday afternoon.

“It just feels like the two teams have similar dynamics,” Los Alamitos coach Mike Whitcomb said. “We can both play really well and play to our potential and we can both sink low and get frustrated and get in our heads. Fortunately, I think, to our credit, we were able to maintain after a rough start a fairly even level of play.”

Jake Maffett led the Griffins with 12 kills. Brian Beggs had 10. Middle blockers Jon Frenzel and Darren Chan had nine and eight, respectively. Whitcomb pointed to their performance as a key to the comeback.

“We focused on the middle, more in game three and four and it took some pressure off of our outsides, who struggling in games one and two,” Whitcomb said. “Getting those guys involved, took the load off of our two outsides and gave them better opportunities and they responded.”

After tying the match, the Griffins carried their momentum into the fifth set. They took their first lead, 5-4 on a kill from Frenzel. After a kill from Kyle McCauley, cut the score 6-5, the Griffins scored the final nine points to end the match.

“It was pretty tough because they had momentum,” Los Alamitos senior setter Adam Simonetti said. “We had to start playing together and not as individuals. We were frustrated, but we had to come back to basics. (Assistant) Coach Dave (Huber) told us to stick to basics and things would work.”

Trent Williams led Edison with 20 kills. Tyler Power added 16.

"We made a couple of errors and LosAl fed off of that and their energy picked up," Edison coach Matt Skolnik said. "They controlled the ball well in the third, fourth game and the fifth, they ran their middles a lot more than they did earlier. They're hard to stop and they did a good job setting them."

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