Welcome to Sunset League boys' volleyball, where even three-game sweeps are a struggle.
Edison High School, the top-ranked team in Orange County, needed six match points to defeat No. 2 Huntington Beach, 17-15, 15-13, 19-17, Friday night at Huntington Beach.
The victory was Edison's second over Huntington Beach this season and gave the Chargers a comfortable lead in the Sunset League race.
"This is a big win for us," Edison Coach Brian Rofer said. "This was our big game. With all due respect for Marina and Ocean View--they're both great teams--but this is the game we had to win. We're over the hump now."
And it was an uphill battle the entire way. The Chargers (10-2 overall, 6-0 in league) trailed by as many as three points midway through each game, and missed several opportunities to put away Huntington Beach (8-3, 4-2).
"That's our style," said outside hitter Karl Van Reusen, who led Edison with 17 kills. "We come out weak, but we get the side out. We always fight back.
"I was really nervous before this game. There were a lot of butterflies in my stomach. We knew they'd be tough, especially in their gym."
Huntington Beach Coach Rocky Ciarelli said his team couldn't get its offense going.
"Holding tough didn't do much for us tonight," Ciarelli said. "When you lose by two points, you have to come up with some plays, and we didn't come up with many."
The Oilers had plenty of plays in the first game, particularly on defense. They built a 9-3 lead behind the blocking of Kyle Crabb, Steve Lucas and Andy Kijewski.
"Huntington Beach is a good blocking team," Rofer said. "They came out serving tough and we weren't passing well."
But Edison rallied behind five kills each by McCarthy and Van Reusen. Each player also added an ace serve as the Chargers went on a 14-6 run.
"We had to work around their blocking," Van Reusen said. "We came out so fired up that we were just trying to kill the ball, and that didn't work against their blocking."
Van Reusen, a 6-foot-5 senior who signed a letter of intent with Cal State Long Beach, had eight kills in the second game as Edison rallied from a 10-7 deficit.
Van Reusen had four kills in the final game, including the game-winner, as Edison came back from deficits of 5-1 and 7-3. The score was tied, 17-17, but a Huntington Beach error and Van Reusen's kill ended the match.
"They came back but a lot of it had to do with us," Ciarelli said. "They played well, though. They beat us."
Van Reusen also had two blocks and three aces for Edison.
Sophomore Joe McCarthy added nine kills and setter Aaron Boone had five.
Lucas had 15 kills and Doug Cunningham 10 for Huntington Beach.
The Oilers' Matt Taylor, who missed the last game against Edison because of a hernia injury, had 12 kills and six service aces.