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Newport Harbor rallies to win O.C. Championships title
HUNTINGTON BEACH - Even in the shortened best-of-three format used for the Orange County Championships, the Newport Harbor boys volleyball team was able to overcome a poor start Monday night.
The Sailors dropped the first set, but Cole Pender and Co. settled in for the next two sets and came away with a victory over Edison, 21-25, 25-15, 15-8, in the tournament's Division I championship game at Edison High.
“Our serving and passing got a lot better,” Newport Harbor coach Rocky Ciarelli said. “We still have a lot of young guys out there. We still got three sophomores on the court at one time and three juniors. We’re still relatively young and it is a big deal to be in the finals, I think, and I think we had a little bit of nerves and I think Edison did a really good job.
“They’re serving was good and their defense was good.”
Serving played a big role in the opening set as the Sailors missed on six attempts. The Sailors missed on just one serve in the second set.
The second set was tied at 11-11 before the Sailors scored four consecutive points to take the lead for good. Pender ended the set with one of his 12 kills, and that forced a third and deciding set.
The Sailors scored the first four points of the third set and led, 9-2, on a kill from Dayne Chalmers on the way to clinching the title.
“They turned their serving pressure up, definitely,” Edison coach Matt Skolnik said. “They got us out of system a little bit and they just capitalized on some of the balls that we just didn’t put away.
“They’re a great passing team and they have a lot of weapons, so hopefully we can serve the ball tougher next time and get them off of the net and give us a better shot at stopping them.”
Ethan Talley added eight kills for the Sailors, and Chalmers and Landon Monroe had seven and six, respectively.
Monroe was selected Division 1 MVP. Pender and Talley earned all-tournament honors.
Kyle McCauley led Edison’s attack with seven kills.
Connor Hanks and Corey Taylor earned all-tournament honors for Edison.
The teams will meet twice during Sunset League play, on March 31 at Edison and April 25 at Newport Harbor.
In the Division 2 final:
Esperanza 2, Woodbridge 0: The Aztecs (11-10) wrapped up the tournament with a 25-20, 25-20 victory over the Warriors.
David Tecker led the Aztecs with seven kills. Joshua Boothroyd had six kills for the Warriors.
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