Richley gets surprise honor in Newport Harbor's victory
HUNTINGTON BEACH - Max Richley, Newport Harbor’s libero, said that he was surprised that he was awarded the Most Valuable Player of the Orange County Championships.
He might have been shocked, but Corona del Mar coach Steve Conti agreed with the decision.
“I think he was the MVP, without a doubt,” Conti said of Richley. “They lined him in the middle and we were too afraid to serve sidelines and keep it (the ball) away from him and that was part of our game plan, to not let him receive balls."
Richley and the Sailors (10-4) swept their Back Bay rival Corona del Mar, 25-20, 27-25 in the Division 1 finals of the Orange County Championships Monday night at Edison High.
“They lined him up in the middle and that was a great move by (Newport Harbor coach) Steve Astor to have him pass the middle and pass the majority of the court,” Conti said.
The teams will meet in a regular nonleague match, May 4 at Newport Harbor.
“We served and passed better than them tonight,” Astor said. “We did a really nice job of serving. Max Richley definitely deserved that MVP. He was fantastic. The thing about him is, he just doesn’t pass a 1/3 of the court, he passes a lot of the court for us, he’s so aggressive.”
For Richley, he said his job is simple.
“As a libero, I try to keep the energy at a high level on the court and fire everyone up,” Richley said. “I was not expecting the MVP. I didn’t know there was one, but I’ll take it.”
The Sailors and Sea Kings were tied at 16-16 in the first game, but the Sailors scored three consecutive points, on two kills by Clay Carr and another by Kevin Rakestraw to take the lead for good.
Carr led the Sailors with nine kills. Rakestraw added eight. Parker Brown led CdM with 15.
In the second game, CdM, saved match point on a blast by Brown, making the score 24-24. The Sailors took a 26-25 lead on a back-row violation call on the Sea Kings, and one point later, Richley ended the match with an ace.
“I don’t want to take anything away from Newport Harbor, but we were our own worst enemy tonight,” Conti said. “We made a lot of unforced errors. I thought we took a couple steps forward this weekend, especially on Saturday … if we took three steps forward, we took at least 2 ½ back tonight.”
Rakestraw also earned all-tournament honors. Brown and Joe Ctvrtlik earned all-tournament honors for CdM.
Austin Hilleman (Laguna Beach) and Christian Hessenauer (Dana Hills) were the other selections.
In the Division 2 final
El Toro 2, Crespi of Encino 0: The Chargers (14-4) swept the Celts (11-2), 25-21, 25-22.
Andrew McKellips and Spencer Lane led the Chargers with seven kills. Jacob Trok and Patrick McKellips had five apiece.
Setter Nick Boyd had 23 assists.