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Huntington Beach boys’ volleyball wins second-place showdown with Edison

Huntington Beach boys’ volleyball wins second-place showdown with Edison
Huntington Beach High's Ryan Bevington, right, blocks a shot by Edison's James Carpenter during a Sunset League boys' volleyball match on Friday. (Drew A. Kelley)

Ryan Bevington and his family are big hockey fans.

When Bevington arrived at Huntington Beach High, he found his way to the Oilers' ice hockey team.

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He has since found his niche as a starting middle blocker on the boys' volleyball team, but regardless of what sport he plays, he has always saved his best for a particular opponent.

As a hockey player, Bevington looked forward to the matchups with Edison. The rivalry game is called the Surf City Face-off.

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Recognizing who was in the Oilers' gym, Bevington's father, Steve, who was the announcer for the evening, projected his personality over the microphone.

"Welcome to tonight's Surf City Spike-off," Steve Bevington said.

It was a spin-off from another sport, but it was appropriate nonetheless. Ryan Bevington elevated his game, finishing with nine blocks and four kills to lead the host Oilers to a 25-23, 25-22, 25-15 win over Edison in Friday night's Sunset League match.

The win moved the Oilers (19-4, 4-1 in league), ranked No. 5 in the CIF Southern Section Division 1 poll, into sole possession of second place in the league.

"I just really like to play against them," Bevington said of the Chargers. "I know that's our rival. I played ice hockey my first years for Huntington, and I always played my hardest games against them, too. With everything I do, I play my hardest against Edison."

Huntington Beach junior setter Aidan Knipe had a number of options that had the hot hand at different times in the match.

Senior outside hitter Mitchell Bollinger had a match-high 14 kills, but when the Oilers needed a crucial point, senior opposite Hunter Dickey was clutch.

Dickey tallied kills on three of the final five points won by Huntington Beach in the second set, including the set point that lifted the Oilers to a 2-0 lead in the match.

"We have a feeling as a team that we can bring in anyone at any time and they can still do their job," Knipe said. "Nathan [Goode] did a great job coming in late, passing balls when Sinjin [Choi] struggled to pass tonight.

"He's usually passing it great, but he just had an off night tonight. We can have anyone come out there and make some plays when we need it."

Choi had four kills, with all of them coming in the first set. Goode had three.

Edison made a position change that paid dividends in the early going. Cole Power, who had served as the team's libero until this week, started at setter.

The Chargers (8-11, 3-2) covered more of the court defensively with Power and senior libero Matt Palma on the floor at the same time. They host Marina (8-12-1, 0-5) on Tuesday.

"He's a really good setter, so we're trying to change it up a bit, see if we can get something to get us over the hump a little bit," Chargers coach Matt Skolnik said of Power. "You just want a lot of really good players on the court. That's kind of what we're trying to do is figure out how we can get our best athletes on the court, try it out, and see where we go from there."

Junior outside hitter James Carpenter led Edison with 11 kills. Senior middle blocker Trevor McKay had seven kills, and Power totaled 25 assists.

Although his team faced a formidable challenge from the Chargers in the first two sets, Oilers coach Craig Pazanti indicated that being steady helped his team out of some tough spots.

"I think the biggest thing in those first two sets was just kind of perseverance," said Pazanti, whose team opens the second half of league play at top-ranked and defending champion Newport Harbor (22-0, 5-0) on Tuesday. "They just kind of kept at it. They didn't give up.

"They were down in both the first and second set, just kept working hard and plugging away on defense and serving tough."

Twitter: @ProfessorTurner

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