The task was simple for the Huntington Beach girls’ volleyball team. Win Thursday and the Sunset League championship would all but belong to the Oilers.
Of course, completing such a task was anything but easy. Huntington Beach would have to do it on the road against its archrival, Edison High, the same team it defeated narrowly defeated in four games in late September.
This time, it was the Chargers who won in four, spoiling the championship party for the Oilers with a 26-24, 25-8, 18-25, 25-17 victory.
Both teams now stand with 7-1 records atop the league standings with two matches left until the postseason.
“It’s a big win for us, especially for league championship implications,” said Edison coach Matt Skolnik. “Huntington is a really good team and playing against a cross-town rival makes this win a little more sweeter.”
The first set saw Huntington Beach jump out to a 5-0 lead, forcing Edison to call a timeout. The Chargers would get in within 18-15, but the Oilers used a 4-0 run to take what seemed like a commanding 22-15 advantage. Five consecutive points suddenly had the Edison (15-9) within two, and after the teams were knotted at 24, the Chargers pulled away to win the opening set.
The Chargers used that momentum in the second set, jumping out to a 5-0 lead. The Oilers never found a rhythm and suddenly were staring at a 2-0 deficit.
Trying to avoid the sweep, the Oilers (22-6) battled and would take the third set. After trading points at the beginning of the set, Huntington Beach went on an 8-1 surge to go up 18-10. Once the Oilers reached a 23-13 lead, the Chargers gave it one last go at a sweep and scored four unanswered. That was not enough and the Oilers forced a fourth set against their rival.
In what started as a close fourth game turned into a convincing win, as the Chargers never allowed the Oilers to lead in the set — clinching the win on a 25-17 set victory.
With league title implications on the line next week, Huntington Beach will travel to Newport Harbor, while Edison will host its Senior Night against Marina.
JUAN CARLOS GONZALEZ is a contributor to Times Community News: Follow him on Twitter: @JGonzalezSports