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Los Al feeling better after beating Edison in five

STAFF WRITER

LOS ALAMITOS - There were several reasons why Los Alamitos' Sunset League victory Tuesday was important for the county's ninth-ranked boys volleyball team.

The 25-19, 20-25, 25-16, 23-25, 15-13 victory over sixth-ranked Edison moved the Griffins into a tie for third place, keeping their hopes alive that they can secure the league's third and final guaranteed playoff berth.

The victory also snapped a three-match losing streak for the Griffins (16-6, 3-3).

“We’ve just been struggling to get our rhythm back,” Los Alamitos coach Mike Whitcomb said. “It has taken awhile, and I think the most important thing is that we bounced back in game five and didn’t give up.”

Los Alamitos had an early lead in the deciding fifth set. Brian Beggs increased the lead to 8-5 on a kill.

Edison (13-10, 3-3) rallied to take a 13-11 lead on a kill from Jacob Morgan. The Griffins then showed the fight Whitcomb had been looking for, scoring the final five points to win the set and match.

“We were on a losing streak and this helps us get back on track,” Los Alamitos senior libero Anthony Wong-Orantes said. “We faced the three toughest teams (in league), and now that we just beat Edison, we have a chance to regain our confidence.”

The teams went to five sets in their first match on March 25. Edison was victorious that time.

Whitcomb pointed to that defeat as an unfortunate turning point for his team.

“I think we lost our confidence the last time was played these guys,” he said. “We lost to them in five and went into spring break, and I think that (loss) kind of incubated in their heads a little bit. When we came back, whatever magic we had, had just disappeared and we’ve been trying to relocate it.

“I don’t think we relocated it tonight, but I think we found out that we can battle and play through some adversity and still come out on top.”

Jake Maffett led the Griffins with 20 kills, Jon Franzel had 13 and Beggs contributed 10.

The Chargers, who lost in five sets to top-ranked Newport Harbor on Friday, rallied from a 19-15 deficit in the fourth set to win the set, 25-23, on an ace from Tyler Power.

“They continue to battle,” Edison coach Matt Skolnik said of Los Alamitos. “Late in the game, they get a crazy down ball that dribbles on the net and goes down on their side. That’s what happens when you work hard.

“They made plays in the end. We had opportunities, but we couldn’t make the plays when we needed to.”

Both teams have four matches remaining. The Chargers have games against Marina, Huntington Beach, Fountain Valley and Newport Harbor. Los Alamitos has to play Fountain Valley, Newport Harbor, Huntington Beach and Marina.

There is a strong possibility the teams will finish the regular season tied for third, forcing a one-match playoff to determine who finishes third and gets the playoff spot.

“I bet that one goes to five games too,” Skolnik said.


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