Unfortunately for Mike Jagd, El Toro High School boys’ volleyball coach, he predicted exactly what would happen in his team’s Southern Section first-round match against Edison Friday.
Jagd, who has guided El Toro from volleyball anonymity to respectability and a South Coast League championship this season, put this match in simple terms.
“If we can attack their middle we’ll win,” he said.
They didn’t, and they lost.
Edison (16-2) dominated the net in the last two games and came away with a 15-12, 10-15, 15-4, 15-6 victory to advance to the quarterfinals Tuesday against Corona del Mar.
The key to it all was the third game when Edison took control at the net. Edison got five points in that game on stuff blocks. Especially effective was 6-foot-5 Karl Van Reusen and 6-5 Mike Diehl, whose blocks sparked a four-point Edison run that gave it a 9-4 lead.
As the Edison block became more and more effective, El Toro (14-3) started having problems hitting. An El Toro spike went long to put Edison up 10-4, and a block by Steve Snyder made it 11-4.
Fittingly, Aaron Boone’s block got Edison to game point, and another long El Toro spike gave Edison the game.
“By then we were able to start predicting where their hitters were going,” said John Herman, Edison’s coach. “We just started loading up on blockers wherever they went.”
The third game was so critical because El Toro had appeared to stake claim to the net in the second game. El Toro had controlled the middle and as Jagd said, won. El Toro got up 6-3 and steadily built on it with blocking. After Edison had closed to within 9-7, Dan Williams made back-to-back stuff blocks to put El Toro up 11-7.
Edison cut the lead again, this time to 12-10, where it seemed to remain for the next hour.
“That seemed like forever,” Herman said.
Forever ended when El Toro rolled off three points--the first on an Edison spike that was wide, the next on Erik Hoopingarner’s kill and the final point on Mike Shannon’s stuff block.
Edison started the match out fast, taking a 6-2 lead in the first game as Van Reusen got three quick kills. The lead stretched to 12-6 as Diehl and Darren Lance each started teeing off at the net. Lance finished with a match-high 22 kills. Diehl had 16 and Van Reusen 10.
But El Toro made a furious rally, scoring six straight points to tie the score, 12-12. El Toro came back by putting virtually everything Edison put at them back over the net.
Edison started making mistakes. In fact, during the six-point surge, only two El Toro points came on kills. The other four were balls hit into the net or out of bounds.
But true to the nature of this match, Mark Zamiska’s block gave Edison a 13-12. And after going up 14-12, another Edison block, this one by Diehl, won the game.
“I think the fact that we played in such a tough league (Sunset League) made us ready for battle,” Herman said. “We really fought it out in that first game.”
And by the time the fourth game had rolled around it seemed some of the fight had gone out of El Toro. Edison jumped out to a 6-0 lead with Lance, Diehl and Van Reusen doing the spiking and El Toro making errors.
The lead grew to 10-2 on Snyder’s kill. A brief El Toro rally drew it to within 11-6, but a Van Reusen kill sparked a four-point spurt that ended the game and the match.
In other 4-A first-round matches:
Mira Costa 3, Irvine 0--Mira Costa, the top-seeded team in the 4-A division, swept Irvine, 15-4, 15-5, 15-5, at Mira Costa. Irvine, the second-place team from the South Coast League, ends 8-10.
Santa Monica 3, Marina 1--Marina (12-5) lost, 15-8, 15-12, 6-15, 15-8. Marina had a 6-3 lead in the fourth game but Santa Monica (15-2) reeled off 11 straight points to take a commanding lead.
Woodbridge 3, Loyola 1--Visiting Woodbridge (11-5) won, 15-7, 4-15, 15-10, 16-14. Loyola, champions of the Del Rey League, end 12-3.
Laguna Beach 3, Dos Pueblos 1--Laguna Beach, the second-seeded team, won, 15-6, 14-16, 15-2, 15-8, at home Laguna Beach is 18-1. Dos Pueblos ends 9-7.
Corona del Mar 3, San Marcos 0--Ty Price had 38 assists and three service aces to pace Corona del Mar in a 15-6, 15-3, 15-8 victory at home. Chris Pliha had 10 kills and four blocks for Corona del Mar (13-2). San Marcos is 10-6.
Arcadia 3, La Quinta 0--Jason McEntee had 14 kills to lead Arcadia (13-3) to a 15-11, 15-4, 15-9 victory. Chris Kim had six kills and four blocks for host La Quinta (12-4).
Los Altos 3, Los Alamitos 0--Los Altos swept Empire League champion Los Alamitos, 15-3, 15-13, 15-6, at Los Alamitos. Los Alamitos ends, 15-3.
Whittier Christian 3, Esperanza 0--Host Whittier Christian (16-0) swept, 15-3, 15-10, 15-8, at home. Esperanza ends, 12-5.