Kills get all the attention, but volleyball league championships are won by doing the little things right.
Huntington Beach survived a temporary loss of in-your-face power by digging, serving and hustling to defeat Edison, 9-15, 15-8, 15-13, 15-13, to clinch its second consecutive Sunset League title Thursday at Edison.
The Oilers (15-2, 12-0 in league), winners of three of the last four league championships, got off to a slow start thanks to an inconsistent offense. Edison cruised to a first-game victory while Huntington Beach’s hitters struggled at the net.
“The same thing happened the first time we played them,” Huntington Beach Coach Rocky Ciarelli said. “We played bad in the first game, they played well and we had trouble finding our rhythm.”
The Oilers weren’t at their top form to start the second game, either, but kills by middle blockers Jeff Vanderwal and Claud Doumerc put them ahead, 4-1. They stayed sharp the rest of the way, with Vanderwal finishing with 21 kills and Doumerc 13.
“In high school volleyball, the team that makes the easy plays consistently is tough to beat,” Ciarelli said. “Once we got a few points in the second game, we relaxed and got back into our game.”
Right-side hitter Greg Reitz took some of the pressure off Huntington Beach’s middle-oriented offense with 15 kills.
Edison (10-4, 10-2) hurt itself with numerous unforced errors after the first game. The Chargers fell behind by scores of 6-0 and 8-0 to start the third and fourth games, largely because of mistakes.
“We fell asleep after the first game,” Edison co-coach Dave Mohs said. “You can’t fall asleep against a team like Huntington Beach.”
Edison battled back from each deficit to tie the score at 13-13, but couldn’t gain leads. Josh Snyder had a match-high 24 kills for Edison. Joe McCarthy added 19.