After taking turns giving away the first three games of their Southern Section 4-A wild-card match Wednesday, the boys' volleyball teams from Marina and North Torrance high schools slugged it out in Game 4.
Marina, powered by 6-foot-5 Duane Cameron, took the game and the match, 15-6, 6-15, 15-3, 15-13. But it wasn't easy. Not in the fourth game.
Marina, which had blown out North Torrance in the third game to take a 2-1 lead, looked to be in great shape when it jumped out to a 3-0 lead. That lead was 4-2 when North Torrance went on a 5-0 run that gave it a 7-4 lead.
Marina went on an eight-point run of its own to go up 12-7. But North Torrance came back with a 5-1 spurt that left the score 13-12.
Marina went ahead, 14-13, and then came seven side outs with each team's big hitter--Marina's Cameron and North Torrance's Dennis Smith--coming up with big hits.
Marina finally won it on Braden Coenen's cross-court spike that landed just inside the left corner.
"If this is the wild card, I'm not sure I want to go on to the first round," said Andy Read, Marina's coach.
But Marina (12-4) will play Santa Monica (14-2), at Santa Monica, Friday.
That seemed a foregone conclusion after Marina blew by North Torrance (13-4) in the first game, 15-6.
Cameron had seven kills and a block and Dave Park had five kills in the game. But North Torrance was the main contributor to Marina's first-game victory, committing seven unforced errors.
In a swift about-face of ineptness, Marina could do nothing right in the second game and North Torrance won, 15-6. Smith had five kills for North Torrance. Marina committed seven unforced errors of its own and added six service errors in the game.
"You saw a lot of tense, nervous kids out there," Read said. "It took a while for us to settle down."
Marina did more than settle down in the third game. It laid North Torrance out flat, 15-3. Marina started with a 6-0 run before North Torrance scored its first point. Then came a 8-0 run to make the score 14-1. Cameron, who finished with a game-high 27 kills, had six kills in the game. Coenen, who had 19 kills in the game, added five.