Newport Harbor and Corona del Mar, the first- and third-ranked girls' volleyball teams in the nation according to USA Today six days ago, met in a Sea View League match Tuesday night at Corona del Mar High.
Best part of the night? It's going to happen all over again on Oct. 28.
"It's going to be an all-out war," said Newport Harbor Coach Dan Glenn, still basking in the Sailors' 9-15, 12-15, 15-12, 15-5, 16-14 victory.
After Corona del Mar (5-1, 4-1) returned a serve long on Newport Harbor's first match point, Sailor fans swarmed the court as if their team had won a national title, not a league match.
"We didn't want to lose," said Sailor junior middle blocker Melissa Schutz, who had experienced that feeling Saturday in the quarterfinals of a national tournament in Chicago. "We hated that feeling. We didn't want it to happen again."
But the Sailors (7-0, 5-0) came close. The Sea Kings led by five points twice in the fifth game before reaching Match Point No. 1 at 14-11. Tina Bowman saved it with a block and Misty May made a crushing kill on the next point to pull to 14-12. On Match Point No. 2, it was May with the saving kill and Schutz--who finished with 29 kills--with a kill on the following point to make it 14-13.
May, with her game-high 38 kills, seemed to hit the ball harder the longer the match progressed and made Sea King fans cringe with her powerful swing. She saved Match Point No. 3, and Schutz followed up with back-to-back kills at the net for Newport Harbor's 15-14 lead.
Jennifer Stroffe's 26 kills and Kim Coleman's 22 led the Sea Kings.