The annual Loyola-Mira Costa volleyball match, going for 35 seasons, is about as good a high school sporting event as you get in Southern California on an annual basis when it comes to fan involvement and the quality of the competition.
Everything was on display Friday night at Loyola Marymount University, where the Cubs earned bragging rights for another year and established themselves as the clear No. 2 team to Southern Section Division 1 title favorite Huntington Beach with a 25-22, 25-19, 25-22 sweep of Mira Costa.
There was an 11-year-old Loyola fan shouting at Mira Costa's Sam Jones, "You didn't block it; your face did."
There were Cubs fans chanting, "Where's your mustache?" and "Who's your daddy?" as Loyola improved to 11-1.
Mira Costa fans were trying to lift up the Mustangs, but it was a Loyola onslaught for most of the night.
The match has great meaning because many of the players on both teams know each other so well from playing with and against each other in the South Bay. Six players for the Cubs live in Manhattan Beach, and they can't wait to walk around the neighborhood Saturday morning wearing Loyola gear.
"It is such a storied rivalry," said Loyola's Matt Reilly, who had 12 kills and lives in Manhattan Beach. ¿The match started well for Mira Costa (7-2), ranked No. 3 in Division 1. Roy McFarland's jump serves were giving the Cubs trouble when Mira Costa opened a 9-5 lead in the first set. But the Cubs settled down behind Reilly and senior Luke Nassif.
They went on to win the first set and never looked back in a dominating performance.
"It was the most fun game of my life," Nassif said. "There was so much energy every play. The setters were setting perfectly. It was a team effort. It was amazing. Everybody played their best."
Coach Michael Boehle now must find a way to get his Cubs to compete with powerful Huntington Beach, the team that defeated Loyola in the Best of the West tournament earlier this season and is the two-time defending Division 1 champions.
"If everybody buys in like tonight, we have a chance," Nassif said.